Chan Zuckerberg Initiative launches Community Fund | News | Palo Alto Online |


Chan Zuckerberg Initiative launches Community Fund

New grants will be awarded to nonprofits near Facebook's headquarters

Since Facebook's 2011 move to its sprawling campus in Menlo Park -- including a 430,000-square-foot complex completed in 2015 -- nearby residents have protested the rise of housing costs and the gentrification of their community. Now, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, primarily focused on scientific and educational causes, has launched the CZI Community Fund to address problems closer to home.

"We love our community and are so proud to be raising our two daughters here," Initiative co-founder Priscilla Chan wrote on her Facebook page in an announcement of the fund on Wednesday. "But listening to the stories from our local leaders and neighbors, there is still a lot of work to do."

The program will provide grants of between $25,000 and $100,000 to nonprofits and schools serving East Palo Alto, Redwood City, the Belle Haven neighborhood and North Fair Oaks, an unincorporated section of San Mateo County. Those areas neighboring Facebook are where gentrification has hit the hardest, the organization stated in a press release.

Grants can be applied to local community needs such as education, housing, homelessness, immigration, transportation and workforce development, which are issues "identified by local residents and leaders as top priorities."

Chan, a pediatrician, founded the Initiative in 2015 with her husband, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to invest in a range of philanthropic efforts. The organization functions as a limited liability company, not a nonprofit, meaning that it does not have to disclose individual grants or total assets. It also can buy advertisements and donate to private corporations, startups or political campaigns, a status which has spawned criticism.

Previous investments related to the housing crisis include a $500,000 gift to the Terner Center at UC Berkeley and $3.1 million to Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, which aids families in the midst of displacement or eviction.

"We're hopeful this fund, in addition to our ongoing work locally around education, housing, and other key issues, will help ensure a brighter future for residents in these communities," states the Initiative's Facebook announcement of the grant.

Applications for the Community Fund will be accepted through Dec. 1 and evaluated on various criteria including the grant's potential impact and the organization's fiscal responsibility, according to the Initiative's website. The grant period will run from Jan. 15 through Dec. 30, 2018.


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24 people like this
Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2017 at 10:33 pm

I used to live in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park. It was very affordable for the area, until Facebook moved in and grew like mushrooms.

This initiative is pennies from the tremendous profits Zuckerberg has made. It is only a consumer relations ploy to allow for their pending exploding expansion, and to relieve his personal guilt for displacing all the original residents of EPA and East MP.

4 people like this
Posted by Garton
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2017 at 9:15 pm

How many homeless will get a home with $100k grant?
It costs $20k a year to rent a studio so small that it feels like a jail cell.
This is just a facebook ad in 'news article' form.

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