Facebook Local Community Fund
by Savannah Lira, Program Officer
In 2012, PVF was selected by Facebook to administer their new Facebook Local Community Funddue to our grassroots approach to grantmaking and knowledge of the community. The Fund was designed to support local initiatives in Facebook's neighborhood as a way to give back. 
In 9 years, the Fund has given over $1.3 Million in 300+ grants to various local nonprofits in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven community of Menlo Park, areas that particularly struggle in the midst of the Bay Area's ever-widening inequality gap.
This year, Facebook focused on addressing the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic within their community. Twenty-nine organizations helping to meet critical needs were awarded a Facebook Local Community Fund grant of up to $10,000. The services funded by this award fall within two areas: Distance Learning Resources and Safety Net Services.
When schools had to transition to online learning in March, inequalities in resources became prevalent. Many students have insufficient (or non-existent) internet connectivity, there are no libraries available, and teachers are unable to give the same one-on-one time some students rely on to learn. Grants from the Fund have been awarded to address these issues by providing hot spots and data plans, making online book libraries and virtual field trips accessible, and offering summer school and tutoring to children of essential workers. 

Kepler's Literary Foundation was awarded a grant to address the difficulties of online learning engagement, even after technology is provided. Their project will provide a book and companion journal for elementary school students, using writing prompts and videos from the book's author to keep the student's engaged.

"Despite the distribution of devices and availability of hotspots, it has been a struggle to keep kids engaged in schoolwork. Remote learning models inherently make engagement more difficult. Since so much is still undecided for next school year we have worked to develop a program that connects authors with students to encourage a love of reading and writing regardless of whether or not the kids return to classrooms or in-person campus visits are possible. Our hope is to provide consistency during an unimaginably uncertain time for students and their families." - Kepler's Literary Foundation
In addition to education, this year the Facebook Local Community Fund saw many local organizations step up to provide essential safety net services. Primarily needed was food, rent assistance, proper protection equipment and mental health services.  Sister Trinitas Hernandez co-founded the  Rosalie Rendu Center  in East Palo Alto in 1996, and is known for its English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults who are struggling to integrate into the English speaking culture. Over the years, it has expanded to include college, career readiness and life skills classes, conversation clubs, and supervised play for children, after school tutoring, and educational family field trips. Now, they are determined to continue to support their ESL students by hiring a mental health counselor.
"Mental health needs in under-served communities are skyrocketing. 
Although we have worked hard to keep connected to our students, we are seeing significant signs of stress in our students as the shelter in place restrictions continue. Lack of physical interface with school systems, medical systems, and social services supports leaves many of our adult students and their families without access to a vital safety net. We will refer and encourage all of our adult ESL students to participate in one-on-one bilingual and bi-cultural counseling either virtually or on the phone."
- Rosalie Rendu Center
PVF is honored to administer a fund so dedicated to its community. You can read more about the Facebook Local Community Fund and requirements for applying on our website or by clicking the button below.
About the Editors
James Higa
James Higa, Executive Director, brings 28 years of executive experience from Silicon Valley, working with Steve Jobs to change the face of technology. He was at the birth of the personal computer revolution as a member of the original Macintosh team and was deeply involved in the creation of many products and services at Apple over 3 decades. He has a long history of public service as a board member of Stanford's Haas Center and in grassroots relief efforts.
Bill Somerville, Founder, has been in non-profit and philanthropic work for over 50 years. He was the director of a community foundation for 17 years, and in 1991, he founded Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. Bill has consulted at over 400 community foundations, on creative grantmaking and foundation operations. Bill is the author of  Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker
About PVF
PVF is a demonstration foundation practicing unique forms of grantmaking and innovative philanthropy. Our primary interest is in the creative and significant use of the philanthropic dollar.
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