On the two-year anniversary of Amazon's decision to build its second headquarters in Arlington, the digital giant on Monday announced $9 million in grants to Northern Virginia nonprofits
“It’s an understatement to say how proud we are to be part of National Landing,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon Vice President of Public Policy, whose team led the search for our HQ2 location. "To mark this milestone, we will donate $9 million to help support a broad range of local community organizations that make up the fabric of the diverse, vibrant region we now call home."
In a news release, Amazon said National Landing's diverse community was one of the biggest factors in its decision to build its second headquarters in Northern Virginia.
The Amazon donations announced Monday include:
- $3 million to four legal service providers to help support families in the Virginia and D.C. region. Recipients include Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Virginia Poverty Law Center, Bread for the City’s Legal Clinic, and Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.
- $1 million to organizations that are advancing the cause of racial equity and community empowerment, such as Bridges to Independence, Offender Aid and Restoration, and the Arlington Branch NAACP Scholarship Program.
- $1 million to community health facilities, including the Arlington Free Clinic, Alexandria Neighborhood Health, Children’s National Hospital, and the Virginia Hospital Center.
- $500,000 to community organizations that will help advance economic opportunity through literacy programs and job training, such as La Cocina VA, DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training Program, and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia.
- $3.5 million designated for community organizations across the region supporting small businesses, military families, the environment, the arts and more.
Amazon’s $3 million gift to legal service providers will support families in the Virginia and D.C. region in need of immediate legal assistance for housing related issues, with each organization receiving $750,000.
“Tenant rights are a particularly complicated issue right now, and families are facing innumerable challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alice Shobe, Director, Amazon in the Community. Shobe and her team have worked over the last two years to understand the most pressing issues facing our neighbors.
“With the significant increase in eviction cases caused by COVID-19, the number of underrepresented litigants is just getting worse,” added Jim Ferguson, Executive Director, Legal Services of Northern Virginia. “Amazon’s timely and generous support is an emphatic action to reverse that negative trend. We will be able to hire more lawyers, and far fewer low-income families will end up on the street. It is hard to adequately convey just how grateful we are for this generosity that will have such a deep and immediate impact.”
An additional $3.5 million will be distributed to organizations throughout the region between now and the beginning of 2021, including to organizations that support veterans and military families, local environmental and sustainability programs, and events and institutions throughout the region that build community, help small businesses, and drive tourism.
“The pandemic has placed a disproportionate strain on the families Bridges to Independence serves, all of whom live below the poverty line,” said Samuel L. Kelly, Jr., CEO of Bridges to Independence. “Amazon’s generosity will fund our COVID-19 relief fund, which will be used to help families during these uncertain times and continue to empower more than 134 youth through initiatives, such as tutoring and mentoring, to break generational cycles of poverty.”
Amazon also offered an update on some of its civic projects in Northern Virginia, including:
Supporting local organizations and causes in the region during the pandemic. In response to COVID-19, Amazon has supported local restaurants during its 10,000 meals in May program, provided critical COVID-19 funding to the Arlington, Alexandria, and Greater Washington Community Foundations, and launched a statewide effort sponsoring computer science education in high-need schools across the Commonwealth.
Breaking ground on its first new office buildings and gaining community approval for an open space public park plan. When construction on Met Park is complete in 2023, it will include two new LEED Platinum buildings totaling 2.1 million square feet of office space, over two acres of green space, and approximately 69,000 square feet of ground floor retail, including an independently operated daycare center. Amazon’s 700 seat meeting center will also be available for community use.
Actively hiring and filling the more than 500 currently open roles in the new headquarters area with diverse talent from across the region.
"The philanthropic donations announced Monday will build on this progress and we look forward to the future as we continue to grow Amazon teams in Virginia," Amazon said in the news release.