It's the largest foundation grant that the Minneapolis nonprofit has received.
St. Stephen’s Human Services is boosting the number of staff who help homeless families after scoring a new $5 million grant from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ charitable fund — the largest foundation grant the Minneapolis nonprofit has received in its nearly 50-year history.
St. Stephen’s is the only Minnesota organization and one of 32 nonprofits in the U.S. to receive the one-time grant from the $2 billion fund Bezos launched last year to benefit the opening of preschools in low-income neighborhoods and nonprofits that help homeless families.
St. Stephen’s will use the money to hire six staff members to help nearly 200 more families per year find housing over the next five years.
“It is a significant increase,” Annie Wells, director of family programs, said about the extra staffing. “The need is so great and so deep, so this isn’t going to end homelessness in Hennepin County. But it will make an impact.”
Homelessness in Minnesota has reached a record high, rising 10% since 2015 to 10,233 people, according to Wilder Research. However, the number of homeless families has decreased by 5% since 2015 — something Wells said could be because of the increased work that Twin Cities nonprofits are doing to help families.
“Families tend to be less visible and the impact is just as great,” Wells said.
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"Minneapolis nonprofit lands $5 million from Amazon's Jeff Bezos to help homeless families"; By Kelly Smith; Star Tribune; November 22, 2019