Amazon announced this morning it's making a $1 million donation that will be split among four Washington, D.C.-region community foundations that are working to support vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis. The groups, ACT for Alexandria, Arlington Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington Community Foundation, will each use a portion of the million dollars as flexible funds that will go toward food, housing/shelter and emergency assistance.
Amazon only months ago received approval for its plans for HQ2 in Arlington County, Va., which is why it's focusing its relief efforts on this area. It has also been preparing for the HQ expansion by hiring hundreds of workers, with the goal of hiring 1,000 by the end of this year and 25,000 by 2030.
The foundations receiving the donations from Amazon will focus on those who are most impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, including hourly workers, the homeless and the elderly.
In addition, Amazon is providing cash and other support to five food banks in the D.C. area, including Capital Area Food Bank, DC Central Kitchen, Arlington Food Access Center, Martha’s Table and Central Union Mission. Martha's Table will also use the donation to provide gift cards, diapers, wipes, baby formula and cash directly to enrolled families. Central Union Mission will use the funds toward continuing to provide shelter, hot meals and services to more than 170 people each night. And other groups will use the funds to support pop-up food distribution sites and to pay their staff, who are typically volunteers, to ensure the operations may continue.
The donation is one of now several Amazon has made since the COVID-19 health crisis hit. It has also created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to help Seattle-area small businesses with the economic hardships they're facing during the outbreak. And it has contributed $1 million to a new Seattle Foundation fund for community members affected by COVID-19; it has subsidized two months of rent on buildings Amazon owns; it announced a $25 million relief fund for its network of independent Amazon Flex drivers; it donated $50,000 worth of supplies to a temporary quarantine housing; and it's continuing to pay hourly staff in its offices.
Amazon is one of the few businesses that's growing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as consumers are staying away from stores and shopping online for household necessitates and groceries. On Monday, Amazon said it would hire 100,000 more workers to help meet this surge in demand.
"The Washington, D.C. area is our new home, and we must rally together to support our neighbors during this difficult time for our region and around the world," said Jay Carney, Amazon SVP, Global Corporate Affairs, in a statement shared today about the new D.C. area donation. "In addition to making sure our Amazon customers can get the essentials they need, we will support our community partners who are doing life-saving work. Amazon's $1 million donation to these four community groups will provide fast, flexible support to those who need it most and encourage a wave of additional community donations during this unprecedented time."