Facebook Nonprofit Donations: Tech Giant Showers Local Companies With $200,000

FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2011 file photo, a magnifying glass is posed over a monitor displaying a Facebook page in Munich. Fac
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2011 file photo, a magnifying glass is posed over a monitor displaying a Facebook page in Munich. Facebook is proposing to end its practice of letting users vote on changes to its privacy policies, though it will continue to let users comment on proposed updates. The world's biggest social media company said in a blog post Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, that its voting mechanism, which is triggered only if enough people comment on proposed changes, has become a system that emphasizes quantity of responses over quality of discussion. Users tend to leave one or two-word comments objecting to changes instead of more in-depth responses. (AP Photo/dapd, Joerg Koch, File)

Facebook kicked off the new year by showering 42 nonprofits in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto with a total of $200,000 in grants, according to company officials.

The financial largess is part of a deal the social media company struck with the city of Menlo Park last year in exchange for permission to almost double the number of employees on its main campus at the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road.

Although Facebook originally promised to create a $500,000 foundation, Susan Gonzales, the company's head of community engagement, said Monday that it kicked in an extra $100,000 for a total community donation of $600,000.

"We were pleased by the response," Gonzales said, adding that more than 100 community groups applied for the funding. "We decided in order to address a lot of the requests we'd add $100,000 to help celebrate the launch of the fund."

Menlo Park Council Member Kirstin Keith, who is on the Facebook Local Community Fund board and participated in the grant allocation discussions along with East Palo Alto Council Member Laura Martinez and several Facebook employees, said it was "fantastic" to be able to give out the money.

"These are really needy organizations who will helpfully change people's lives," Keith said.

The grants, which range from $2,500 to $5,000, will help support everything from youth programs to food distribution to small business aid to school clothes for homeless kids. Organizations were notified about the grants last week, Gonzales said.

Felicia Matthews of A Better Way Foundation in East Palo Alto said the $5,000 grant will make a world of difference for the three-year-old nonprofit and the at-risk kids it serves. The organization hopes to use the money to create an after-school technology program, she said.

"This gives us an opportunity to see what we can do," Matthews said.

Last month, Facebook's 28-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg announced he was donating $500 million in stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to support health and education causes.

Keith said Menlo Park is fortunate to have Facebook. "I look around and I don't see other corporations doing this," she said. "It's pretty amazing."

The next round of funding will be distributed in June, according to Gonzales. Interested nonprofits are asked to email for additional information about the Facebook Local Community Fund and the grant program.

Email Bonnie Eslinger at; follow her at

Facebook's new foundation gave a total of $200,000 to 42 nonprofits in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto

A Better Way

Baby Basics

Bayshore Christian Ministries

Belle Haven Community Foundation

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

College Spring

Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto

Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse

East Palo Alto YMCA

Ecumenical Hunger Program

East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring

East Palo Alto Kids Foundation

Eternal Life Church

Fit Kids Foundation

Foundation for a College Education

Free at Last

Georges's A-Games

Girls to Women

HIP Housing

Job Train


Kiwanis Club Foundation

Latino Community Foundation

Mouse Squad

My New Red Shoes

New Creation Home Ministries

Nuestra Casa

Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center

Peninsula Family Service

Peninsula Volunteers

Rebuilding Together

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

Riekes Center for Human Enhancement


Rosalie Rendu

Rosener House Adult Day Care

Saint Francis Conference of St Vincent de Paul

Sojourn to the Past

St. Francis/Khan Academy Youth Club

Star Vista

Teen Talk Sexuality Education

Youth Community Service

Source: Facebook ___

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