ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Communities In Schools NOVA today announced Amazon is making a $1 million donation to support the immediate needs of thousands of students from underserved communities in Northern Virginia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities In Schools NOVA will distribute Amazon’s donation through its innovative “Right Now Needs Fund”—a flexible fund designed to meet the basic needs of schoolchildren and help eliminate barriers to learning. The Right Now Needs Fund in Northern Virginia will provide students with immediate access to urgently needed items including food, clothing, and school supplies across all 41 Arlington Public Schools and programs and all 18 Alexandria City Public Schools.
Site Coordinators and school social workers within each of the school districts and schools will work with families to identify individual student needs and request assistance from the Fund. Communities In Schools NOVA, leveraging existing relationships with both school districts, will distribute Amazon Education Assistance Product Vouchers – a prepaid payment designed specifically for education-related needs. Students and their families can redeem the vouchers for a wide variety of carefully curated items that students need to be successful at school, including food, school supplies for at-home learning, warm clothing, hygiene items, and more. By using the prepaid vouchers, students and families can redeem much-needed items in a dignified and convenient way.
“The start of this school year has been difficult for many families across our new home of Northern Virginia, and we are determined to provide support to the students who need it most,” said Jay Carney, Amazon Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs. “At Amazon, we are always looking for innovative solutions to tough challenges, and we are confident that the flexibility and speed built into our new Right Now Needs Fund will help ensure that more students from underserved communities can focus on their studies, and not fall behind as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.”
In 2018, Amazon launched its first Right Now Needs Fund in its hometown of Seattle. To date, the initial investment has already provided Seattle Public Schools students with over 17,000 instances of support for basic needs. Moreover, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, the Right Now Needs Fund in Seattle distributed 27% more funds from the same time last year. Since March, Amazon expanded its Right Now Needs Fund in Seattle and launched a new Right Now Needs Fund in Bellevue, Washington to support an additional 133 schools in the Greater Seattle area.
Amazon recently donated nearly 800 Mi-Fi devices and $75,000 to secure thousands of headsets for students across Northern Virginia starting the school year from home. In addition, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Amazon’s HQ2 region, Amazon donated $1 million to kick-start emergency response efforts, provided thousands of devices to groups supporting students in need, donated cash and in-kind products to local nonprofits and food banks, paid local restaurants to prepare and deliver 10,000 lunches and dinners for first responders, frontline healthcare workers, and vulnerable neighbors, and funded delivery services to provide more than 50,000 meals—60,000 pounds of food—directly to the doorsteps of local seniors and those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Amazon also donated $3.9 million to nonprofit CodeVA to help make virtual computer science curriculum and training available Virginia teachers and students so that they don’t fall behind in learning this increasingly important skillset. There are currently more than 50 schools and counting in the state of Virginia part of the Amazon Future Engineer program.
"Communities In Schools NOVA appreciates the trust Amazon has placed in our ability to collaborate with schools and community partners on implementing the Right Now Needs Fund,” said Patrick Brennan, Executive Director, Communities In Schools NOVA. “Every student, regardless of circumstance, deserves a seamless system of support so they can stay in school and achieve in life."
“Many families are facing hardship in the pandemic, and these vouchers are a wonderful way to provide direct support to students so that they can purchase food, clothing, school supplies, and other essentials,” said Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán. “I would also like to thank Amazon for providing 500 MiFi’s to help us bridge the digital divide some of our students are facing during this pandemic. We appreciate the commitment and support of Amazon and Communities In Schools for coming together to help our students and their families. It truly takes a village to support our equity efforts, and this is another step that will allow our students in need to focus on learning while at home.”
"In keeping with our goal of expanding the “plus” in our Virtual PLUS+ model, we are grateful to Amazon for their generous donation to one of our Virtual PLUS+ partners, Communities In Schools (CIS). CIS will work closely with Alexandria City Public Schools to identify families that need additional supports to be academically successful, and this will help our students in greatest need stay connected to their school and community during this pandemic while providing targeted relief, resources and supplies for our families," said Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
In response to COVID-19, Amazon has supported communities, employees, partners and customers across the country. Since March, Amazon has donated more than 13,000 laptops to students in need, distributed more than $5 million worth of Amazon devices to help healthcare workers and nonprofits, delivered more than 9 million meals across 25 U.S. cities, launched free, virtual computer science resources and expanded its Amazon Future Engineer program to more than 550,000 students, donated more than $20 million to help accelerate COVID-19 research, donated $10 million in critically needed PPE supplies, and more. To learn more about what Amazon is doing in response to COVID-19, check out the Amazon Blog: Day One.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.
About Amazon in the Community
Amazon is committed to helping more children and young adults, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities, have the resources and skills they need to build their best future. Amazon focuses on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programs that leverage Amazon’s unique assets and culture. Initiatives include Amazon Future Engineer, designed to inspire and excite hundreds of thousands of children and young adults from underserved and underrepresented communities each year to pursue computer science, as well as programs that support immediate needs, including addressing family homelessness through donations and housing a homeless shelter in its Seattle headquarters, as well as global relief efforts for people in need following natural disasters.
About Communities In Schools NOVA
Communities In Schools builds relationships that empower students to stay in school and succeed in life. Our school-based staff partner with teachers to identify challenges students face in class or at home and coordinate with community partners to bring outside resources inside schools. We remove barriers for students at risk of dropping out and leverage evidence, relationships, and local resources to drive results. While schools are closed, we're working in and across communities to bring resources like meals, educational materials, and emotional support to the kids that need them the most. CIS NOVA has partnered with Arlington Public Schools since 2013 and Alexandria City Public Schools since 2015. In the 2019-2020 school year, 100% of our case-managed students stayed in school and 97% were promoted to the next grade level. To learn more about Communities in Schools NOVA, visit https://cisofnova.org/.