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ForKids Receives $2.5M Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant

Day 1 Families Fund grants $98.5 million to 32 nonprofits assisting families experiencing homelessness

NORFOLK, Va. – (Nov. 21): ForKids today announced it has received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund to help build and provide expanded services in the nonprofit’s Center for Children and Families, currently under construction in the community of South Norfolk in Chesapeake, Virginia.

“Hearing ForKids had received the Day 1 Families Fund grant is something you always hope you will get as a nonprofit executive. I am ecstatic for our families, my team and this community,” said Thaler McCormick, CEO of ForKids. “This grant brings ForKids another step closer to completing a $25 million capital campaign to fund two new regional centers and expanded services. New buildings do not, by themselves, help families stabilize long-term. We have to put services in them, and that is what this grant does.”

ForKids, which began as a grassroots shelter in the Ocean View neighborhood of Norfolk more than three decades ago, touches 70,000 individuals a year through its data-informed holistic services, remedial education programs for children and a housing crisis hotline that serves as the service connection hub for 14 urban and rural municipalities across Southeastern Virginia. More than 50% of ForKids’ operating budget is funded through community contributions, and ForKids has been working to identify new funding sources to support the new, larger facility. The Bezos Day 1 Families Fund grant will fund shelter construction as well as shelter services, rapid re-housing and system improvements to the Housing Crisis hotline, allowing ForKids to increase capacity from the first day in its new Center for Children and Families. The new center is expected to open in early 2021.

ForKids is one of 32 nonprofits across the U.S. to receive the second annual Day 1 Families Fund grants, as part of a broad investment by the Day 1 Families Fund to help solve family homelessness. The Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $98.5 million in grants this year. The fund worked with an advisory board of homelessness advocates and experts who identified and invited organizations to submit grant proposals to support their efforts to address homelessness. This year, the grant recipients from around the country include: Bethany House Services, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, Catholic Social Services Alaska, Coburn Place, Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Covenant House, Family Gateway, FamilyAid Boston, ForKids, Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, HOPE Services Hawaii, HopeWorks, Interim Community Development Association, Lafayette Transitional Housing Center, Mary’s Place Seattle, MIFA, Our Family Services, Pathways of Hope, St. Joseph Center, St. Joseph’s Villa, St. Stephen’s Human Services, St. Vincent de Paul, The Road Home, The Road Home Dane County, The Whole Child, UNITY Of Greater New Orleans, Upward Bound House, Welcome House of Northern Kentucky, West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, and YWCA Columbus.

ForKids Board Chair Kelly Sokol said the ForKids board celebrates the Day 1 Families Fund recognizing the strength of ForKids and the project in South Norfolk. “So many people in this community have worked incredibly hard to get ForKids to this moment and supported this project. We are proud to bring national funding into Hampton Roads to expand services for families,” Sokol said.

The Bezos Day One Fund was launched in 2018 with a commitment of $2 billion and a focus on two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 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. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside. For more information, visit


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