(Fargo, ND) -- YWCA Cass Clay, which operates the largest emergency shelter for women and children in the region and a supportive housing program for survivors, has announced that it has received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, the largest private gift in the organization’s history.
“This gift is inspiring and truly uplifting. A record gift challenges us to act boldly for the future. Using the gift over the next five years, we will expand and innovate our programs that bring hope and transformation for survivors of domestic violence and homelessness,” said Erin Prochnow, CEO of YWCA Cass Clay in a statement released to WDAY Radio.
Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to leading organizations on the front lines that are employing compassionate, needle-moving work to help families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing with the services they require to achieve stability.
This one-time grant will help YWCA Cass Clay in its tireless work to support families as they reel from skyrocketing rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes. YWCA plans to use the grant funds to make needed emergency shelter improvements that create a homelike setting to foster healing from trauma, expand availability of affordable housing with support staff who empower independence, and enhance a rapid rehousing program to minimize time spent homeless.
YWCA also hopes to grow staff’s cultural competency for serving Native American individuals, host community events that inform about homelessness and domestic violence issues, and shape new opportunities to raise community understanding of diverse racial experiences that contribute to poverty and homelessness.
“To have one of the world’s largest philanthropic programs affirm YWCA Cass Clay carries great significance. Confidence and faith have been placed in YWCA,” said volunteer YWCA Board President Paulette Rastedt. “Our supporters, partner organizations, volunteers, leadership and staff, and many others who’ve played a part, can all join in celebrating this honor.”
YWCA Cass Clay was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by a group of national advisors who are leading advocates and experts on homelessness and service provision. National advisors brought expertise on housing justice, advancing racial equity and helping programs employ resources effectively to assist families out of homelessness.
Over the past five years, the Day 1 Families Fund has provided 170 grants totaling more than $520 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability. This year, the Fund issued a total of $123.45 million in grants.