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Jeff Bezos' fund gives $2.5 million to YWCA Cass Clay

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos launched the Day 1 Families Fund in 2018 to provide annual leadership awards to organizations working to help families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing.

A look at the exterior of the YWCA Cass Clay
The YWCA Cass Clay Emergency Shelter is seen in south Fargo.
Forum file photo
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FARGO — YWCA Cass Clay announced Tuesday, Nov. 22, that it's received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, the biggest private gift in the local organization’s history.

YWCA Cass Clay runs the largest emergency shelter for women and children in the region as well as a supportive housing program for domestic violence survivors.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos launched the Day 1 Families Fund in 2018 to provide annual leadership awards to organizations working to help families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing.

"This gift is inspiring and truly uplifting. A record gift challenges us to act boldly for the future. Using the gift over the next five years, we will expand and innovate our programs that bring hope and transformation for survivors of domestic violence and homelessness,” Erin Prochnow, CEO of YWCA Cass Clay, said in a statement.

The one-time grant will help YWCA Cass Clay in its work to support families reeling from rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes.

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The YWCA said it plans to use the grant funds to make needed emergency shelter improvements that create a homelike setting to foster healing from trauma.

The organization said it also hopes to use the money to:

  • Build the YWCA staff's cultural competency to better serve Native Americans
  • Host community events that inform the public about homelessness and domestic violence issues
  • Shape new opportunities to raise community understanding of diverse racial experiences that contribute to poverty and homelessness

Tuesday's announcement comes on the heels of similar large gifts to area organizations.
Dakota Medical Foundation recently announced it got a $10 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos.

Scott's gift was part of a round of donations totaling almost $2 billion to support the foundation's mission of helping underserved communities.

Earlier, Scott donated $10 million to the YMCA of Cass-Clay and $2 million to the YWCA Emergency Shelter in Fargo.

For more information about the YWCA Cass Clay, visit: https://www.ywcacassclay.org.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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