Oct 15, 2018–
Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN) today announced a $2 million grant to the Alliance for Education to create the “Right Now Needs Fund” to help meet the urgent and basic needs of students attending Seattle Public Schools. This money is meant to be flexible and could be used to purchase a needed raincoat or school supplies, or to provide food in backpacks to feed students over a long weekend.
“At least a third of the students in Seattle Public Schools are impacted by poverty, and they are present in all of our 103 schools. The opportunity gap facing children from low income families has been a persistent problem in our community, and it is widening,” said Lisa Chick, President and CEO at the Alliance for Education. “We are grateful for Amazon’s generosity and understanding that to be successful in education we need to support the basic needs of children. These funds will help us directly address closing the opportunity gap in Seattle.”
“We work hard at Aki Kurose to make sure all our kids have what they need to be ready to learn, but the need is far greater than the resources we have available,” said Dr. Mia Williams, Principal at Aki Kurose Middle School. “This fund puts an incredible tool in our hands to solve problems and set my students up for success. I couldn’t be more excited about what this means to my community.”
Low-income students, including students experiencing homelessness, are concentrated in Seattle’s 31 “Title 1” schools. However, 18,300 children receive free and reduced lunch across all Seattle Public Schools. Students whose basic needs are not met often struggle to learn.
“The Alliance for Education has a track record of administering on-the-ground programs that effectively support success for students and teachers,” said David Zapolsky, Amazon SVP & General Counsel and Alliance for Education board member. “We worked hard with the Alliance to create a flexible source of funding so each school can quickly decide how to best serve their students.”
The Right Now Needs Fund will help principals, teachers, and parents collaborate to remove students’ most basic barriers to learning in all Seattle Public Schools during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. Spread over the next two years, Amazon will grant $2 million to the Alliance for Education to serve as the administrator of the funds for all Seattle Public Schools. The Alliance will disburse the funds to schools according to student needs, and higher poverty schools will receive more support. The only stipulation of the fund is that it must directly benefit students and not replace currently budgeted items.
“I’m inspired by this city’s strong commitment to public education – everyone wants our students to succeed. I have also been troubled by the significant challenges many of our students face in their daily lives,” said Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau. “The Amazon contribution is designed to address those challenges by supporting students’ basic needs and removing barriers to learning. This generous and meaningful support, with the Alliance for Education’s stewardship, will help make sure students can focus on their education. We are so appreciative of this gift to our student community.”
Both the Alliance for Education and Amazon are committed to education and addressing urgent needs that prevent students from learning. The Alliance for Education is Seattle’s local education fund, and works in close partnership with Seattle Public Schools and other education stakeholders to create programs and raise funds designed to close opportunity gaps in Seattle’s public school system. Amazon supports STEM and computer science education and programs that address childhood hunger and family homelessness. Amazon is a proud donor to the Families Yes campaign in support of the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy on the ballot November 6.
“These resources will complement existing school funding and help to close the opportunity gap,” said former Seattle Mayor Norman Rice. “There’s nothing more important than making sure our students are safe, healthy and ready to learn – I’m delighted that Amazon is making this investment in the future.”
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