Maui News

Bezos Day One Fund Gifts $2.5 Million to Family Life Center in Kahului, Maui

November 17, 2021, 8:37 AM HST
* Updated November 18, 8:14 AM
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Family Life Center, Kahului. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Family Life Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization serving the homeless population on the islands of Maui, Molokaʻi and on Kauaʻi, has been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day One Families Fund—the largest grant in Family Life Center’s history.

This is the second consecutive year that the organization has received a donation from the Bezos Day One Families Fund. In 2020, the nonprofit received $1.25 million from the same fund. The Family Life Center is one of 32 organizations in 21 states, and the only one in Hawaʻi to be included in the funding allocations this year.

Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos, the Day One Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families.

“Family Life Center is incredibly grateful for the Day 1 Families Fund, which has so generously supported our organization for the second year in a row,” said Family Life Center Executive Director Maude Cumming. “Our 2020 Day One Families Fund grant enabled us to expand our reach beyond Maui and Kauaʻi to reach Molokaʻi as well. This year’s donation will allow us to enhance and expand the services we are offering on all three islands.”

This one-time grant will allow Family Life Center to continue to expand its services on the islands of Kauaʻi and Molokaʻi, where the homeless population is “very underserved,” according to Cumming. The organization also plans to develop an adaptive shelter model for families, replicating an approach it pioneered during the COVID-19 pandemic on Maui. 

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Family Life Center was selected as a Day One Families Fund grant recipient by an independent advisory board comprised of homelessness experts with experience in policy, advocacy, racial equity, child welfare and housing and service delivery, as well as firsthand experience in homelessness.

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This year, the Day One Families Fund issued a total of $96.2 million in grants to dozens of organizations across the country.

“Without Family Life Center’s support, my family and I might still be living in our car,” said a former Family Life Center client. “I am so grateful to have a home for our son. We will never be homeless again.”

The Bezos Day One Fund made a $2 billion commitment to focus on making meaningful and lasting impacts in two areas: funding existing non-profits that help families experiencing homelessness, and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities.

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The Day One Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families.

Since 2018, the Day One Families Fund has issued 130 grants totaling more than $398 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability. The vision statement comes from Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.

Founded in 1982, Family Life Center serves the homeless population in Maui County. The organization has grown to employ more than 40 employees. As the primary resource for homeless services in Maui County and a key resource growing on Kauaʻi and Molokaʻi, the organization has helped over 1,271 families in the last three years.

Family Life Center provides a wholistic approach to meeting the needs of the homeless through a wide spectrum of services including outreach, shelter, housing and prevention.

Bezos recently purchased a 14-acre oceanfront estate on Maui at Keoneʻōʻio “La Pérouse” in the Mākena area of South Maui.

The Family Life donation is the latest among a list of contributions made by Bezos on Maui this year. Other donations were made to:

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