Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awards $3.5M to tackle pressing community needs | News | Palo Alto Online |


Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awards $3.5M to tackle pressing community needs

East Palo Alto among communities to benefit from annual grant program

Project WeHOPE, which provides shelter services, food and other social services in East Palo Alto, is among the 40 nonprofits awarded grant money through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative this month. File Photo by Veronica Weber.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the private philanthropic company founded by Palo Alto residents Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, distributed nearly $3.5 million in grants to 40 Bay Area organizations working to address critical community needs in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, North Fair Oaks and Redwood City, the organization announced Jan. 9.

The grants, which were awarded through the organization's CZI Community Fund, range from $25,000 to $100,000 and will be used to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in these communities, including food security, workforce development, homelessness, immigration, health care, mentoring and education.

"CZI Community Fund recipients are on the front lines of critical work to support our neighbors and strengthen our community," said Cristina Huezo, director of CZI Community Fund.

Among the grant recipients are Project WeHope, an East Palo Alto organization that provides social services, such as mobile showering facilities and free certification courses for employment opportunities; and the nonprofit Live In Peace, which provides youth and young adults with resources focused on academic and career support. Both nonprofits also were grant recipients of the 2018-19 Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund.

Other recipients include the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, Ecumenical Hunger Program, Youth United for Community Action, Girls to Women and Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto.

In addition to receiving the year-long grants, these organizations will partner with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to pursue ways to strengthen their nonprofit work, including training opportunities for leaders of nonprofits and other collaborative opportunities.

The Facebook co-founder and his wife launched their charitable initiative in 2015, pledging to donate 99% percent of their Facebook shares toward efforts promoting equality and advancing human potential.

The CZI Community Fund, launched in 2017, has distributed grants to more than 70 local organizations. To qualify for the grants, organizations must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a budget of at least $100,000 and have a fiscal agent or sponsor, or be a local municipality or government agency.


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13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2020 at 5:22 pm

Wow, their generosity and philanthropic spirit truly astounds.

31 people like this
Posted by Calistoga Willi
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2020 at 5:53 pm

$3.5 mil? That’s a rounding error in his checkbook. Come on Mark, add a couple of zeros and really make an impact.

28 people like this
Posted by Barney Trouble
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 20, 2020 at 7:53 pm

Mark Zuckie has a net worth of $82 Billion dollars.
A $3.5 Million donation is the same percentage as:
A $21 dollar donation of somebody with a net worth of $500,000.00
A $42 dollar donation of somebody with a net worth of $1,000,000.00

Big woop!

29 people like this
Posted by theAlex
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 20, 2020 at 10:32 pm

This outrageously small donation is an insult to our community, as is his aid to and collaboration with the corrupt POTUS. Clean your act up Zuckerberg.

5 people like this
Posted by skeptic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2020 at 12:33 am

I don't see any critical comments from the grant recipients.

20 people like this
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 21, 2020 at 1:08 am

That is less than 0.004% of his entire net worth. Definitely an insult and mockery to the community.

15 people like this
Posted by Thad
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2020 at 6:35 am

They could give away $3.5 million every year for 12,000 years and still have $40 billion left over. Why so stingy?

9 people like this
Posted by A.P
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2020 at 6:51 am

To the people in the comments above me, relax. He is giving away money for a great cause and also has internship programs at the facebook campus. Also employs a ton of people. It does not matter that he makes so much and gives so little. Thats not the point. The point is he is giving.

Now, I live in the Belle Haven area, for over 23 years. This has been the best it has looked due to facebook. Its moving in the right direction.

I would like to see the people asking other people for more money, donate more money.

7 people like this
Posted by Uncle Sam
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2020 at 7:20 am

I just want to know if these recipients have to open up the books to see how the funds were used or do they get to hide...I mean keep it private. Asking for a friend.

15 people like this
Posted by Critic
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2020 at 7:40 am

I hate to be a critic and am glad support is going to some great nonprofits in our area. However, given the extent of wealth the Zuckerbergs hold and the fraying of our community-affordable housing, food insecurity, need for youth programs- this amount is way out of proportion. Look in your own backyard Zuckerbergs and CZI!! Your giving is truly short given resources and needs—many of which are the result of your prosperity.

5 people like this
Posted by HMM
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2020 at 8:29 am

The Community Fund is a small part of CZI. CZI is not a foundation but a limited liability corporation, and is much more opaque than a foundation. They do not have to report any charitable support they do not wish to (of course, like any other entity, they do need to report direct political contributions). CZI is pouring far more into other causes than those mentioned in this article. From a local perspective, I find their support of groups like SPUR,SV@Home, 3P Housing Plan problematic. Notably, these groups are actively supporting such political initiatives as SB50, which would, if passed, benefit Facebook.

11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2020 at 8:33 am

Thank you to the Zuckerbergs.

To anyone who is critical of the gift, shame on you.

1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 21, 2020 at 5:54 pm

After Mr. Zuckerberg’s experience with his massive donation to Newark, NJ schools - wherein he found out about grabby, poorly-run government, wow, I would expect him to be cautious with his future charity efforts. They didn’t want him involved but just wanted to give raises to union teachers.

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