press Release

CORE Named Winner of 2021 Amazon Web Services Imagine Grant for Nonprofits

December 6, 2021

International crisis response organization CORE collaborates with Amazon’s cloud computing arm to launch a unified disaster response tool to aggregate critical basic services


LOS ANGELES – December 6, 2021 CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) today announced it has been selected as a winner of the 2021 Amazon Web Services (AWS) Imagine Grant, a public grant opportunity open to registered 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the United States who are using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The grant will support CORE’s efforts to launch a unified disaster response tool that aggregates critical basic services during the recovery and preparation phases of the disaster cycle, enabling service providers to collaborate within one interface and beneficiaries to receive the right services faster. 

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. 

CORE’s tool (name TBA) seeks to fill the gap and aggregate critical basic needs during a disaster. Using the tool’s Disaster Response module, CORE will enable local organizations, governments, and nonprofits to collaborate within a single platform and avoid costly delays in needs assessments that undermine partners’ ability to preposition or prioritize resources in disaster. The tool’s Resource Coordination module will streamline needs identification, eligibility verification, application assistance, handoff facilitation, and follow-up during the recovery and preparation phases of the disaster cycle. 


Through AWS services, CORE’s tool will: 

  • Provide more effective resource allocation with real-time data intelligence to identify needs, most-affected locations, and gaps in service in disaster-affected communities.

  • Serve as a link between affected individuals and communities and relief/service providers, avoiding complex application processes and provide easier access.

  • Create continuity between the response and the recovery phase and enable individuals that are underserved to access resources that are available. 

CORE was named a winner in the Go Further, Faster category which recognizes highly innovative projects using advanced cloud services. The organization will receive up to $150,000 in unrestricted funding, up to $100,000 in AWS Promotional Credits, and engagement with AWS technical specialists. 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.


“CORE’s priority is to support at-risk communities to be stronger in weathering and recovering from crises, and to be prepared for their future. We are developing a way to be high tech with a high touch — making coordination more efficient, but in a way that is accessible, equitable, and tailored to the needs of the most marginalized communities,” said Ann Lee, CORE Co-founder and CEO. “We are very grateful to AWS for awarding us the Imagine Grant to help us achieve this goal and for AWS’s collaboration in implementing the cloud-based functionality to leverage the real-time data intelligence this tool will utilize to support the populations most in need when they need it most.” 


Since the launch of the Imagine Grant program in 2018, AWS has awarded over $4.5M 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 


About CORE 

Founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a global crisisresponse organization that brings immediate aid and long-term recovery solutions to underservedcommunities. CORE gets in early, saving lives and strengthening communities for the future. Driven by a diverse, female-led team, CORE acts quickly in the face of disaster to mobilizecommunity members and leaders. CORE has been on the frontlines since the beginning of thepandemic, providing free testing, vaccines, and support services to vulnerable communities acrossthe U.S. and globally. As of December 2021, CORE has administered over 2.5 million COVID-19vaccines and more than 5.9 million tests worldwide.