Facebook is delivering on its promise to create a charitable foundation that will distribute $500,000 to community nonprofits serving East Palo Alto and Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood.
The social network company's investment is part of a deal it struck with the city of Menlo Park for permission to almost double the number of employees at its main campus at the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road.
Facebook is accepting applications for the first round of grants it will award at the end of the year. Grants will be disbursed quarterly in amounts of $3,000 to $5,000 to 501(c)(3) nonprofits, according to Facebook spokesman Tucker Bounds. The number of grants awarded each year will vary depending on the volume of applications received, he said.
The deadline for applications this quarter is Nov. 30.
Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith said she is "delighted" to know that money soon will be flowing to organizations that help local residents.
"I think this is wonderful of Facebook, giving back to our community," Keith said. "It's always a positive to give money to a nonprofit that is doing good work."
The Facebook Local Community Fund, as it's been named, will be administered by the Oakland-based Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. Keith, along with East Palo Alto Mayor Laura Martinez and several Facebook employees, will review the applications and decide who gets the grants.
East Palo Alto is looking for nonprofits that provide youth services such as training in computer technology and social media, programs that support college-bound high school seniors and weekend activities that offer "life experiences to ignite an interest in learning," according to an information sheet about the charitable fund.
Menlo Park, on the other hand, is targeting "nonprofits with a history of proven success providing services to the Belle Haven community." That could include anything from the Project Read adult literacy program to Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors, Keith said
Earlier this year, Menlo Park said it would allow Facebook to eventually employ as many as 6,600 people at its campus, where the number of workers previously had been capped at 3,600.
In addition to pouring $500,000 into a charitable foundation, Facebook has committed to pay more than $14.5 million in fees and public benefits over the next 14 years, provide internship and job training programs, improve bike and pedestrian pathways, and restrict vehicle trips by encouraging employees to share rides, take shuttles and bike and walk to work.
A separate development agreement will be negotiated for a new West Campus that Facebook plans to build on the other side of the Bayfront Expressway, at the former Tyco Electronics site. The council is scheduled to advise staff about what it hopes to receive through that deal at its meeting on Oct. 30.
Interested nonprofits are asked to email email@example.com for additional information about the charitable foundation grants.
Bonnie Eslinger at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow her at twitter.com/bonnieeslinger. ___
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