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. 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," Cox said.

Live In Peace provides youth with a family-like atmosphere that supports youth in the following three program areas: arts and culture, a college initiative and the StreetCode Academy of technology and economics training. Young people 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, according to the press release.

"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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6 people like this
Posted by EPAMom
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 10, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Wow! I hope this wonderful gift bears fruit for our youth. Maybe gentrification and Facebook are not so bad...

8 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 11, 2015 at 12:01 am

For anyone who wants to see more of what's happening at StreetCode Academy, this Thursday March 12, from 6 to 8pm, students in the Intro to CS and Web class will demo what they have been learning. StreetCode is located at 763 Green St in East Palo Alto. For more info: Web Link

8 people like this
Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

muttiallen is a registered user.

I'm glad this is supporting StreetCode and Live in Peace. I'm a Computer Science grad, and feel like many people could become great coders without that degree. Leave the degree to those doing research and cutting-edge stuff. The grunt-work coding can be done on many levels by people with good coding training, but not a BS in CS. I'm teaching coding to Ravenswood middle-school age girls, and we are having a great time!

4 people like this
Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2015 at 12:14 pm

This is wonderful news. There's been a lot of press about how the Silicon Valley wealthy don't make enough charitable contributions. This donation is going to help people right here where we live.

4 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm

There is always a need for more mentors and anyone else who wants to lend a hand at StreetCode Academy so be sure and drop on by: 763 Green Street near Cooley, literally two minutes away from the IKEA!

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm

I thought 763 Green was being used by the Sequoia Union High School District. Is it no longer there?

6 people like this
Posted by O. Pinion
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2015 at 7:28 am

That seems generous but did anyone else miss that this is a tax write off and nice publicity stunt?

Let's hope the youth actually benefit and not the couple administrators that will suddenly have the highest paying job of their life.

5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2015 at 11:16 am

@O.Pinion -- I encourage everyone to use this "tax write off", actually a deductible for Schedule A. This is how I stretch my contributions towards education and conservation. You don't really save any money, but it's a method of diverting your tax dollars into worthy causes that you really support. Cautionary note, if your adjusted gross is too high (likely the case for this executive), the Alternative Minimum Tax will reduce your leverage. Consult your tax advisor.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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