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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative gives $1.5M to Ravenswood school district

Donation to support teacher and staff training, coaching

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the organization for the philanthropic efforts of pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will donate $1.5 million over the next two years to fund professional development in the Ravenswood City School District.

The donation will fund training for both district leadership and teachers provided by national nonprofit the New Teacher Center. Ravenswood announced the gift on Friday in conjunction with the Ravenswood Education Foundation, which raises money for the district.

A Ravenswood press release describes the dollars as key to helping the district move into a new and improved era.

"In the fight to create theĀ 'New Ravenswood,' partnerships have been central to fulfilling the district's wish list of necessary support required to accelerate change," a district press release states. "CZI's support for the development of Ravenswood's teachers is another step in the right direction."

The Ravenswood Education Foundation worked with the district to apply for the CZI grant and will now monitor progress and provide any necessary reports to the organization, Executive Director Renu Nanda said.

Ravenswood has partnered with the New Teacher Center to provide training since 2014. The Tosa Foundation, a national philanthropic organization based in Portola Valley, funded training for the preschool and primary grades for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years and CZI funded third through eighth grade during that same time period, according to the district.

The new CZI donation is one of four new partnerships across the country the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced Friday that aim to support teachers.

"From my work with The Primary School and in my experience as a teacher, I know how rewarding it is to be able to provide students with a learning experience that meets their individual needs and puts them on the path towards success," Chan wrote in a Facebook post, referring to the new school she opened in East Palo Alto in 2016. "But I also know that teaching is taxing, challenging work, and that teachers deserve our support."

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative supports the Ravenswood school district in a variety of ways, including by providing grants through its Community Fund and creating last year a $5 million home down payment support fund for educators who are there (and other local districts).

Chan and Zuckerberg launched their philanthropic organization in 2015. They have said they intend 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.

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