Amazon takes steps to be a good neighbor with its new North Randall facility

Just over a month after opening its new 855,000-square-foot North Randall fulfillment facility, Amazon is already making its presence known around the Greater Cleveland area—with officials demonstrating how happy they are to be here and their desire to be a good neighbor.

Already, Amazon has made a donation to the Village of North Randall to fully fund a senior transportation program; participated in congresswoman Marcia Fudge's Northeast Ohio Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (NEOSTREAM) Conference; and kicked off its Rise and Smile breakfast program in partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

Amazon staffing team lead Britney Fields helps a job seeker through the online application processAdditionally, in the past two weeks, Amazon has donated more than $100,000 to Cleveland area organizations and communities.

“We received a very warm welcome,” says Anne Laughlin with Amazon community relations. “We’re very pleased to call the Cleveland community home and we’re pleased to give back.”

The donations began on Monday, October 22, when Amazon presented a $76,000 donation to the Village of North Randall (in partnership with in partnership with Chicago-based Clayco, Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties and Amazon subcontractors). That donation will fully fund a senior transportation program for Village residents and marks Amazon’s first financial contribution to North Randall since announcing its decision to build the fulfillment center on the grounds that once housed the iconic Randall Park Mall.

The funding will pay for a new van, as well as additional resources to support vital services provided by local first responders, police, and fire departments. “The senior citizen transport program will get people to and from their appointments, bring them on shopping trips, and things like that,” says Laughlin.

The donation didn't go unnoticed by the North Randall community and its mayor, David Smith. “We are incredibly grateful for this donation and can't wait to see our new senior services van in action," Smith said via statement.

Then, on Friday, October 26, and Saturday, October 27, North Randall Amazon fulfillment center employees and a group from Amazon's Boston-based robotics team conducted a coding and robotics workshop for 61 middle schoolers from the Akron and Cleveland areas at Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus as part of the 2018 NEOSTREAM Conference.

The students used Kindles and Sphero robots to learn about coding—using the Kindles to program the Spheros to knock down bowling pins. “It was a fun and energizing way to learn coding,” says Laughlin. 

Amazon General Manager, Mark Huber, announces a $50,000 grant to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District
After the coding workshop, Amazon donated 10 Spheros and 10 Kindles to the Cleveland Public Library, alongside a $15,000 donation to support STEM projects at the library. According to CPL CEO Felton Thomas, the funds will go toward STEM activities specifically geared at "young girls of color and young boys of color in the Cleveland area.”

Yesterday, Tuesday, October 30, the Amazon team was back on the community service trail­—this time kicking off its Rise and Shine breakfast program at Andrew J. Rickoff Elementary School in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood with a $50,000 grant to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD).

Rickoff is the first of 31 CMSD schools to benefit from the Amazon grant meant to emphasize the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast. Amazon fulfillment volunteers came to the school around 9:30 a.m. yesterday and surprised first graders with more than 460 bananas, art activities, games, and raffles.

While Laughlin says the grant will be used differently in each CMSD school (and other schools taking part in Amazon’s national grant program to fight hunger and help deliver more than 3.1 million breakfasts to more than 29,000 students across the country), the programs are designed to eliminate the stigma often felt with subsidized meals. Rolling “grab-and-go” carts will deliver breakfast foods to any student who is hungry.

An Amazon associate helps a first grader girl at Andrew J Rickoff School complete a breakfast themed trivia challenge
“Any student can grab breakfast in the morning, whether they’re climbing off the bus and rushing into class or the cart rolls to them, it’s easy to grab something,” Laughlin explains. “It makes it much more convenient to students and takes away the stigma.”

On top of its donations and community service efforts, Amazon is bringing jobs to Northeast Ohio. Laughlin says they are looking to fill 400 seasonal jobs in varying positions—from picking and packing to shipping, finance, and human resources—in the North Randall facility. She says they are also still looking to fill 2,000 permanent full-time jobs at the new facility. “These are pretty exciting times,” she says.

To learn more about the jobs or to apply, click here.

In addition to the North Randall fulfillment center, Amazon also operates a “sortation facility” in Twinsburg and plans to open another fulfillment center in Euclid by spring 2019.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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