Amazon and Communities In Schools NOVA announced that 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.

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/.

(Business Wire)