By Elliot Schrage, Vice President for Public Policy and Communications
At Facebook, we are proud to call Silicon Valley our home. We are committed to being active and responsible neighbors by supporting the communities near our Menlo Park HQ that have welcomed us since we arrived here in 2011.
Today, we’re announcing a new partnership focused on solving some of the region’s most difficult issues, starting with the creation of more affordable housing. This is what our neighbors have told us their community needs most urgently. To start, we’re making an initial $20 million contribution to the partnership and hope to attract more contributions and partners — including community groups, philanthropies and companies — over the next few months and years to grow our regional impact.
We know we can’t solve these issues by working alone. This unique coalition is comprised of initial partners that share our goals, including Youth United for Community Action, Faith in Action Bay Area, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste – East Palo Alto, the local governments of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, and other community groups.
The partnership is built on three initial pillars:
The partnership will establish a Catalyst Housing Fund with $18.5 million to pursue innovative and scalable ways to increase the production and protection of affordable housing. An additional $250,000 will go to Rebuilding Together Peninsula to support the building and upkeep of homes for low-income residents.
The partnership will devote $625,000 to job training in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition, we’re establishing a dedicated local community liaison who will help connect community members with open positions at Facebook.
We recognize that the situation is a crisis for many of our neighbors and that investments from the Catalyst Fund will take time to result in new units. To provide immediate relief to those facing particularly difficult circumstances, we’re dedicating $500,000 to an assistance fund to provide legal support to tenants threatened with displacement from evictions, unsafe living conditions and other forms of landlord abuse.
Since shortly after Facebook was created, we’ve been part of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. The region — this community — is our home. 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. We all need to work together to create new opportunities for housing, transportation and employment across the region. We’re committed to join with the community to help.