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While the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on families and communities across the country, countless nonprofits have stepped up to meet the needs of their communities. Here’s a story to celebrate about one important group.

This past year, human services nonprofits have been flooded with an unprecedented rush of need from a nation in crisis—and these organizations have, time and again, stepped up to the plate, providing food, shelter, medical services, and more to those who have been most vulnerable to the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As inspiring as their response to our crisis has been, many human services groups still have their eye on a future where America’s need may not be quite so vast, but is sure to remain just as deep for those trapped in the cycle of poverty.

That’s why when St. Vincent de Paul CARES (SVdP CARES)—a Florida-based nonprofit committed to ending homelessness—received a $5 million grant from the Bezos Day One Fund, they were ecstatic about the possibilities this grant would enable. The one-time grant will be used by St. Vincent de Paul CARES to execute a new program, “No Child Left Outside,” which will target 400 families in the Tampa Bay area—including an estimated 1,000 children—and rapidly re-house them into stable and permanent housing. 

SVdP CARES programs like No Child Left Outside are based on the conviction that every person has the right to dignified and affordable housing. Their “housing first” philosophy includes a “healthy disregard” for what many perceive as barriers to housing, including employment history, mental health issues, and addiction. SVdP CARES asserts that stable, permanent housing is the foundational service that enables all other human services to be effective.

For the families impacted by No Child Left Outside, this initiative may well be the security they need to begin a path out of poverty. But the immediate effect of removing children from the experience of homelessness is just as critical: “We are the richest, richest nation on the planet,” St. Vincent de Paul CEO Michael Raposa commented at a press conference announcing the grant. “To see a homeless child living in a car in the corner of a Walmart parking lot is unacceptable.”

The Bezos Day One Fund, launched in 2018 by Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, focuses on two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, nonprofit preschools in low-income communities. The Fund issued over $105.9 million in grants to organizations like SVdP in 2020.

The pandemic has thrown us all for a loop, but we’re looking forward to hearing from more nonprofits that are making progress toward realizing their long-term goals in spite of the challenges of the present moment. Has your organization recently met a landmark goal or secured an unexpected major gift?  Let us celebrate the occasion with you. Reach out to me at esammon@americanphilanthropic.com for a feature on your big news!

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