Housing and Homeless

Jeff Bezos fund backs UMOM to the tune of $5 million

Phoenix-based homeless advocacy organization received a large grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund to help its mission

PHOENIX, Ariz. (STN) – As part of more than $117 million in grants distributed across the country, one of Phoenix’s most recognizable names in the fight against homelessness is getting a big boost.

It was announced late in 2023 that UMOM would receive $5 million from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. Formed in 2018, the grant program set aside $2 billion to both fund existing non-profits that help families experiencing homelessness and build a network of preschools in low-income communities.

During the December episode of ‘It Happens at STN,’ UMOM CEO Jackson Fonder talked about finding out his organization had been awarded the grant. “It was quite a surprise,” he said. “It’s very humbling. Jeff [Bezos] and I are not on a first-name basis (laughs).”

According to UMOM, the one-time, flexible grant will help it continue to provide a “critical lifeline” to families with children who need shelter. UMOM says it plans to use the money to fund individualized case management, job training and placement, among other things.

“The entire grant was written, leaning in towards supporting larger families, [that’s] a trend that we’re seeing at UMOM,” Fonder said. “We feel good about it. It doesn’t end, does it? No, but it puts a dent. We’ve got a lot of strategies and initiatives in play for the next three years, and it makes a dent, and we’re proud of that, and we’re excited about what’s ahead.”

This is the second massive grant UMOM received from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. It also received $5 million in 2018. Of the 38 organizations in the United States to receive Bezos Day 1 Families Fund grants in 2023, three were in Arizona. Along with UMOM, Native American Connections and Primavera Foundation were recognized.

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