Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos’ Gift Makes Big Impact at Mālama Family Recovery Center
Amazon founder and Executive Chair, Jeff Bezos has made two more personal donations to nonprofits on Maui, bringing the growing list of philanthropy on Maui for the e-commerce executive to four. Today’s announcements include monetary donations of unspecified amounts to the Mālama Family Recovery Center, and the Hawaiʻi Land Trust.
This donation provide funding to support Mālama Family Recovery Center’s therapeutic living program, a residential substance use treatment program for pregnant and parenting women. This is the only program on Maui where young children and infants can live with their mothers while they get help in therapeutic and sober living environments. According to the organization, the residential nature of the program alleviates the potential for homelessness, which many people with substance use disorder may experience.
“Research shows that homelessness can be both a cause and an effect of substance use; as we help clients with substance use issues, women in our program have both a better chance at success in recovery, and at having shelter for them and their children in the future,” said Jud Cunningham, CEO.
Drug use can be deadly, and in fact methamphetamine is the number one killer of unsheltered residents in Hawaiʻi, according to organization leaders.
“We’re very grateful to Mr. Bezos for his generosity and this gift,” said Serlinda Soukon, Program Director for Mālama Family Recovery Center. “The population we serve is complex, with a variety of needs. This gift will ensure that we are able to meet those needs, helping women in recovery so they can better provide for themselves and their children.”
Funds will also help replace a deficit of funding from a federal grant that was not renewed this year. Mālama serves approximately 90 women and 50 youth annually, with at least 85% identifying as unsheltered.
As one client shared: “If I wasn’t in this program I’d be in prison or living on the street. I ran from my trauma, and used drugs to numb my pain. I hated myself and my choices. Mālama Family Recovery Center gave me a safe place to get clean. Beyond that, the impact it has had on my family has been multi-generational; they have helped my mom, me, and my kids continue to heal while participating in their programs. Now I am maintaining long-term sobriety. I am employed, and I am the best mom I can be.”
Those seeking services can find more information on Mālama Family Recovery Center at www.mbhr.org or call 808-877-7117.