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Orange County United Way Named Winner Of 2022 Amazon Web Services IMAGINE Grant For Nonprofits

Orange County United Way Named Winner of 2022 Amazon Web Services IMAGINE Grant for Nonprofits

Orange County United Way will work with Amazon’s cloud computing arm to help end homelessness in Orange County

Irvine, CA. (December 7, 2022) — Orange County United Way has been selected as a winner of the 2022 Amazon Web Services (AWS) IMAGINE Grant, a public grant opportunity open to registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in the United States who are using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The grant will support Orange County United Way’s efforts to expand their Welcome Home Network (WHN), an online, serverless application designed to quickly match qualified housing voucher holders with available apartments; thereby fulfilling the need to secure permanent housing and help end homelessness in Orange County.

Now in its fifth year, the AWS IMAGINE Grant program provides vital resources to nonprofit organizations looking to deploy cloud technology as a central tool to achieve mission goals. As part of the program, AWS seeks proposals for big ideas on how to leverage technology in new and innovative ways to accelerate impact in local and global communities.

Orange County United Way was named a winner in the Momentum to Modernize category which recognizes foundational technology projects. United Way will receive up to $30,000 in unrestricted funding, $5,000 in AWS Computing Credits, and project implementation support. Proposals were judged on several factors including the innovative and unique nature of the project, impact on mission-critical goals, and clearly defined outcomes and milestones.

Orange County United Way’s WHN is a secure, serverless, web-based application designed to match housing voucher holders who are experiencing homelessness with available rental units. The service unlocks doors for property providers to easily register units, and for Orange County United Way’s WelcomeHomeOC housing navigation team and nonprofit case managers to securely connect clients to housing. No program offers a complete end-to-end solution like WHN, which combines the scale and speed of an online service with the benefits of supportive case management to ensure successful and continued housing stability. With matches expedited, the WelcomeHomeOC team can spend more time identifying additional property providers and units to end people’s homelessness quicker.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive the IMAGINE grant from a valued partner such as AWS. Our WHN technology will help end homelessness for more individuals in Orange County, a core pillar of our work at Orange County United Way.” said Susan B. Parks, President and Chief Executive Officer, Orange County United Way. “WHN will improve the experience of all stakeholders fulfilling their unique roles by allowing them to do more – quicker and more efficiently. We’re grateful to AWS for recognizing the value of WHN and helping us propel the critical work to end homelessness forward.”

Since the launch of the IMAGINE Grant program in 2018, AWS has awarded over $6M in unrestricted funds, AWS Computing Credits, and AWS training support to 66 nonprofit organizations in support of their technology-driven goals. Previous winners are currently using AWS services to tackle critical challenges such as eliminating barriers to food security, improving maternal health outcomes, helping millions access clean and safe drinking water globally, tackling rare disease research, and more.

“At AWS, we are inspired and encouraged by the nonprofit sector’s commitment to address society’s biggest challenges. Each of our IMAGINE Grant winners is taking innovative approaches to scale their mission impact with technology,” said Allyson Fryhoff, managing director of nonprofit and nonprofit health at AWS. “We’re excited to dive deep with these organizations to help them leverage cloud technology to advance their transformative work that is benefitting communities worldwide.”

Over 85,000 nonprofit organizations worldwide use AWS to increase their impact and advance mission goals. Through multiple programs tailored specifically to the nonprofit community, AWS can enable nonprofits of all sizes to overcome barriers to technology adoption, while enhancing the scale, performance, and capabilities of mission operations.

For more information on the AWS IMAGINE Grant, visit aws.amazon.com/imagine-grant.


Orange County United Way is committed to breaking barriers and improving lives for everyone who lives here. Through our three key initiatives—United for Student Success℠, United for Financial Security℠, and United to End Homelessness℠—we are working to ensure local students succeed, struggling OC families gain financial security, and our homeless neighbors find a place to call home. We step up to actively address the critical issues facing our community and we go the extra mile to make sure our residents have the support they need. We are committed to caring for one another. That’s #TheOCWay.

To learn more or discover how you can help, visit UnitedWayOC.org.

Orange County United Way is a standalone, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.


Media Contact: Heidi Pallares, hpallares@cornerstonecomms.com, (949) 285-7278

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