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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2021

Easterseals DC MD VA Named Winner of 2021 Amazon Web Services Imagine Grant for Nonprofits

Easterseals to work with Amazon’s cloud computing arm to enhance the quality of life for children and adults in the region


Silver Spring, MD — Easterseals DC MD VA today announced it has been selected as one of only 20 winners of a 2021 Amazon Web Services (AWS) Imagine Grant, a public grant opportunity open to registered 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the United States that are using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

The grant will support a key element of Easterseals DC MD VA’s strategic plan: using information to enhance programming. Specifically, the AWS grant will improve the organization’s use of data to better serve the children and adults in its programs by more fully understanding their needs and measuring the impact of those programs.

“We are immensely grateful to AWS for this grant,” said Shahirah Mahmood, PhD, Director, Data Management, Measurement and Outcomes with Easterseals DC MD VA. “In order to deliver the highest quality services in the most inclusive, hopeful environment, we need to ensure that our data are timely, accurate, and easily accessible at multiple levels of Easterseals. The Imagine Grant is a major support for our progress toward that goal.”

Now in its fourth 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.

Jon Horowitch, President and CEO of Easterseals DC MD VA, cited the organization’s goal to set the standard in nonprofit performance. “Leveraging the insights of data is a major strategic imperative for our organization, so this project is about much more than data collection and measurement. Our ultimate vision is demonstrating our performance with complete transparency while providing customized dashboards to monitor operational and programmatic efficiency, effectiveness, and impact.”

He added, “This will put Easterseals DC MD VA at the forefront of nonprofit organizations.”

Dr. Mahmood explained that organizational growth has increased the need for more efficient data management. “Over the past eight years, Easterseals DC MD VA has experienced rapid growth and launched a broad array of programs to meet the needs of thousands of individuals and families in the area. When a new program is created, we adopt new data systems,” she explained. As a result, we currently use multiple data systems. We began working with AWS in February 2021 to begin integrating the data into a central repository. This grant now allows us to move closer to our vision of having a near real-time, 360-degree view of our programs, as well as increased data security, better insights into our participants, and — most importantly — the ability to deliver even higher value to our clients.”

Easterseals DC MD VA was named a winner in the Momentum to Modernize category, which recognizes foundational technology projects. Easterseals DC MD VA will receive $30,000 in unrestricted funding, up to $5,000 in AWS Promotional 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.

Since the launch of the Imagine Grant program in 2018, AWS has awarded over $4.5 million in unrestricted funds, AWS Promotional Credits, and AWS training support to 46 nonprofit organizations in support of their technology-driven goals. Previous winners are currently using AWS services to tackle critical challenges such as finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes by leveraging the power of data, tackling conservation issues at scale with machine learning, helping the military and Veteran community access resources faster and more reliably, and more.

“AWS was incredibly inspired by the innovative thinking we saw in the applications received this year. All of the nonprofits share a commitment to solving some of our world’s biggest challenges,” said Dave Levy, Vice President of Nonprofits, Healthcare, and U.S. Government at AWS. “We look forward to collaborating with our winners to help them build and reinvent new and existing cloud-based solutions that will make a meaningful impact on communities worldwide.”

Over 35,000 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.

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Easterseals DC MD VA – Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through direct and life-changing disability and community services. Since 1945, Easterseals DC MD VA has worked tirelessly to enhance quality of life and expand access to healthcare, education, and employment. And we won’t rest until each one of us is valued, respected, and accepted. Join us: www.eseal.org.

Contact: Paula Moore, Vice President of Communications & Marketing, pmoore@eseal.org

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