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Facebook executive gives $1 million to East Palo Alto nonprofit

Live In Peace strives to build connections between local youth, universities, entrepreneurs and tech companies

Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and his wife have donated $1 million to an East Palo Alto nonprofit group to help train and connect the city's youth to tech companies, the nonprofit Live In Peace Inc. announced Monday, March 9.

Cox and his wife, filmmaker Visra Vichit-Vadakan made the donation to support Live In Peace's efforts to effectively connect East Palo Alto to Silicon Valley by establishing networks between universities, entrepreneurs, tech companies and East Palo Alto youth, according to the statement.

Cox played keyboards with an East Palo Alto-based reggae band, the former Vintage Music Collective, according to the band's website. He has supported Live In Peace programs in the past, according to TechCrunch.

"Live in Peace operates with a very special model of connecting young people to their talents, to jobs, and to a bright picture of their future through a support system of leaders from their own community," Cox said. "It's been a privilege to get to know this group and their work over the last five years, and we are honored to help sustain and grow their impact over the years ahead,"

Live In Peace's aim is provide youth with a family-like atmosphere that supports them in the following three program areas: arts and culture, a college initiative and the StreetCode Academy of technology and economics training. The goal is for young people to discover, develop and direct their creativity for the benefit of their community and the broader world.

Live In Peace's core goal is creating living-wage jobs for East Palo Alto residents and diversity in Silicon Valley. Funds from the donation will be used over the next two years for staffing, infrastructure, and expanded programming, including the youth-staffed news website EPANow.us, the nonprofit said.

"We get to see the genius and talent of our youth and young adults every day. We are excited for the rest of the world to see it," Heather Starnes, Live In Peace executive director, said.

Live In Peace has partnered with community-based entrepreneur Olatunde Sobomehin, and is supported by industry leaders Guy Kawasaki, Asha Jadeja Motwani, Jason Mayden, and several technology companies, the organization said.

Watch a video on Live In Peace.

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