Amazon donating $1.4M to Bellevue to aid social services and outdoor spaces as it grows in city

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A rendering of the plaza and green space around a planned Amazon office tower in Bellevue, Wash. (Amazon / NBBJ Image)

Amazon’s commitment to Bellevue, Wash., extends beyond its plans to develop a major campus in the city east of Seattle. The tech giant announced on Monday night that it is donating $1.4 million to the City of Bellevue to aid social services and improve neighborhoods and parks.

Amazon is giving $1 million to the Bellevue Human Services Fund, $289,000 for neighborhood enhancement projects and $150,000 for parks improvements. The donation comes as Amazon increases its footprint in the city with new office tower construction and leased spaces, to make room for a planned 25,000 employees away from its main headquarters in Seattle.

“We’re excited to continue working with policymakers, local organizations, and the community as Amazon continues to invest in Bellevue,” Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, said in a news release. “As a member of Bellevue’s vibrant and resilient community, the company is pleased to work with the city to help address community needs and support beloved parks and neighborhood assets.”

Amazon previously gave $1 million to the Human Services Fund in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund serves as the primary resource to support social services in the community, and money will be distributed to more than 40 entities across the Eastside to help with pandemic recovery.

Donations slated for neighborhood enhancement and parks will go to improving outdoor spaces in Bellevue, including such spots as Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bel-Red Mini-Park Dog Off Leash Area, citywide tree planting, Crossroads International Park, Kelsey Creek Farm and more.

Amazon previously announced a $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to create and preserve affordable housing in its three “headquarters communities” — the Puget Sound region; Arlington, Va.; and Nashville, Tenn. Amazon’s first investment consisted of $185.5 million in below-market loans and grants to King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in the Eastside, including units in Bellevue’s Pinewood Village, Hampton Greens, and the Illahee Apartments.

With more than 75,000 employees now in the region it calls home, Amazon has exhibited a strong desire to stretch further beyond the limits of Seattle, driven in part by disputes with the Seattle City Council over its impact on the community, and efforts by the city to impose new taxes on big businesses. In 2019, after a prior tax battle, the company announced plans to move its worldwide operations to Bellevue.

“Amazon continues to invest in Bellevue, and I thank the company for setting such a stellar example of community partnership,” Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson said in a statement. “These dollars will have a significant impact on our community as we begin to recover together from the effects of the pandemic.”

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