Facebook announced a partnership today with local community organizations near its headquarters to commit $20 million toward making affordable housing, job training, and legal services available to more people in the area.
A few groups have signed up to participate, including Youth United for Community Action, Faith in Action Bay Area, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, and Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste — East Palo Alto, along with the local governments of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park.
This new coalition will allocate $18.5 million into a fund called the Catalyst Housing Fund. The goal is to find ways to accelerate and grow the production of affordable housing in the community. Additionally, $250,000 will be given to Rebuilding Together Peninsula, which seeks to assist low-income residents with the upkeep of their homes.
$625,000 has been assigned to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in schools, something Silicon Valley has been actively encouraging for years. Facebook said it has designated a liaison to work with the community in order to keep track of local candidates that might be suited for future roles within the company.
Lastly, the Facebook-backed coalition has dedicated $500,000 towards an assistance fund to help tenants defend themselves from landlord abuse and unsafe living conditions.
Facebook’s latest partnership appears to be part of a growing effort from the company to soften its image. Of course, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t been shy about his charitable ambitions, even donating 99 percent of his shares towards improving child equality, seeking to bring the internet to more people (with mixed results), donating $20 million to bring the internet to more U.S. schools, and more.
But today’s initiative is not backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — the partnership was made by the company itself.
“The region — this community — is our home,” wrote Elliot Schrage, the company’s vice president for public policy and communications, in a blog post. “We want the region to remain strong and vibrant and continue a long tradition of helping to build technologies that transform the future and improve the lives of people around the world, and also in our extended neighborhood.”