bezos day 1 families fund grant

Newly Announced Gift from Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant to be Key Driver for

the Planned Gonzaga Family Haven Project in Northeast Spokane


Spokane, WA – (November 21, 2019): The recent announcement that Catholic Charities Eastern Washington (CCEW) was selected to receive a $5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund brings the planned Gonzaga Family Haven project in Northeast Spokane a step closer to reality.


This innovative housing complex will provide life-giving housing and supportive programming to more than 70 homeless families in the Spokane region. It is proposed for the corner of Hamilton and Foothills Drive and is being developed in collaboration with the City of Spokane which owns the site, with Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Preparatory School contributing community-building assets.


Planners envision Gonzaga Family Haven to be a permanent, compassionate community where families can stabilize their lives through supportive services such as on-site case management, access to healthcare, counseling, employment services, and other amenities provided by partnering organizations.


“Families, and most importantly, children need a roof over their heads at night before they can think about anything else,” said Rob McCann, President & CEO of Catholic Charities. “Gonzaga Family Haven will not only help families stabilize their lives but will give them options for a brighter future.”


Partnerships with Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Preparatory school are critical to the success of Gonzaga Family Haven. “We are thrilled about the opportunities that Gonzaga Family Haven will create for our students to provide meaningful service to the Northeast Spokane community,” said Michael Dougherty, president of Gonzaga Preparatory School. “The goal of our educational mission is to teach our students to be persons for others, who devote their lives in service to creating a more just and loving world. Our community is eager to extend our educational mission in service to the youth who will call Gonzaga Family Haven home. We look forward to supporting the educational success of these youths through tutoring and other programs, and hopefully by welcoming them as students at Gonzaga Preparatory School.”


CCEW is one of 32 nonprofits across the U.S. to receive the second annual Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant as part of a broad investment to help solve family homelessness. The Bezos Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $98.5 million in grants this year. The fund worked with an advisory board of homeless advocates and experts who identified and invited organizations to submit grant proposals to support their efforts to address homelessness. Grant recipients are from all around the country.


Both schools will engage in providing innovative educational and enrichment programs to families at Gonzaga Family Haven. Gonzaga Preparatory School will provide an opportunity for staff and students to not only volunteer at the apartment complex but will create systems of lasting support to families as their children grow.


“We are excited at the prospect of engaging our students, faculty and staff in community service learning through this dynamic, promising project,” said Thayne McCulloh, president of Gonzaga University. “Havens are places of safety and refuge. We can do truly meaningful work in this setting – not only to support and impact families, but to help students experience the transformative impact of helping others.”


The University’s current vision of its involvement focuses on delivering many of its successful community engagement programs at Gonzaga Family Haven, including youth mentoring and enrichment, community meals and nutritional education, wellness activities, and community leadership development. These service-learning opportunities, integral to the Jesuit educational model, are designed to be strategic, long-term, and community informed. These would be organized by Gonzaga’s Center for Community Engagement.


“Clearly, this is more than a housing project,” McCulloh said. “It will become a community.”

Gonzaga Family Haven faces several milestones over the next couple of months, with applications outstanding for federal tax credits, and Housing Trust Fund support from the State of Washington not yet finalized.


About Catholic Charities Eastern Washington

Catholic Charities Eastern Washington affirms the dignity of our most vulnerable neighbors by offering collaborative and innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing Eastern Washington. Carrying forth Christ’s love, we ease the suffering of individuals and families in crisis, we stabilize lives by connecting clients to housing and their communities, and we advocate in hope to help people make progress in their own lives.


About Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University, established in Spokane, Wash. in 1887, is a nationally ranked, Jesuit and Catholic, liberal-arts based comprehensive institution that develops every student’s intellectual skills, imaginative capacities and ability to innovate so our graduates become leaders who shape and serve their professions and communities for the good of all. Gonzaga offers 16 undergraduate degrees through 49 majors, 58 minors and 49 concentrations; 24 master’s programs; and five doctorate degrees, through the College of Arts and Sciences and six schools: School of Business Administration, School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Nursing and Human Physiology, School of Leadership Studies, and School of Law.


About Gonzaga Preparatory School

Gonzaga Preparatory School, established in 1887, is a Jesuit, Catholic college preparatory school located in Spokane, Washington. Guided by the Gospel values of love and justice, the school offers a college preparatory curriculum that teaches its students to realize their potential as lifelong learners and leaders in service to others. The school seeks to offer its transformative program to all who desire a Catholic education in the Jesuit tradition, and more than 60 percent of students receive financial assistance to ensure the affordability of tuition.

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