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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative creates local grant program

Initiative to award grants up to $100,000 to help Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and Redwood City

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the organization for the philanthropic efforts of pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has launched a new community fund that will provide grants up to $100,000 to nonprofit organizations, schools and municipalities in the vicinity of Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters.

The funds will go to projects dealing with education, housing, homelessness, immigration, transportation and workforce development in Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks and Redwood City, the organization announced Oct. 25.

"We love our community and are so proud to be raising our two daughters here," Dr. Chan said in a statement on Facebook. "But listening to the stories from our local leaders and neighbors, there is still a lot of work to do."

It's not yet known how much funding the organization will distribute or how frequent grant cycles might be, a Facebook spokesperson said. The organization is hoping to evaluate the program after the first round of grant applications, she said.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was announced in December 2015. Dr. Chan and Mr. Zuckerberg said they intended to eventually put 99 percent of their Facebook shares into a limited liability company that, over their lifetime, will fund investments in nonprofit, for-profit and public-sector initiatives in health, education and technology.

The organization does not have to disclose individual grants or total assets, and can buy advertisements and donate to private corporations, startups or political campaigns.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has contributed to local school districts, including Redwood City, Ravenswood City, Sequoia Union High School and San Francisco Unified school districts, the spokesperson said.

In the Ravenswood City School District, the organization worked with a national nonprofit called the New Teacher Center to give new teachers extra training and professional development.

In the Sequoia Union High School District, the organization supports the Sequoia Aspirations Advocates Program, which, through mentoring, counseling, tutoring and other initiatives, helps students get motivated to succeed in and graduate from high school.

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.

The organization has contributed funds to the Magical Bridge Foundation, LifeMoves, the St. Francis Center and the Fair Oaks Community Center in North Fair Oaks and Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto.

Previously headquartered in Menlo Park, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative is now based in Palo Alto.

Go to the initiative's website for grant eligibility guidelines.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 1. Office hours will be held the week of Nov. 13 for applicants to talk to initiative staff about the application process.

Fiona Kelliher contributed to this report.

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