Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Wife Donating $120 Million to Bay Area Schools

The first $5 million of the fund will go to several mid-Peninsula school districts.

By Bay City News Service:

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced through his social media site Friday a $120 million donation to Bay Area schools. 

Zuckerberg and Chan are distributing the money to various schools to "support high quality public schools for underserved communities" through their Startup: Education fund over the next five years. 

The first $5 million of the fund will go to several mid-Peninsula school districts, including Redwood City and Ravenswood in East Palo Alto, along with the San Francisco Unified School District. 

In the Facebook post on Zuckerberg's page Friday morning, he wrote, "The funds we're committing today will be used to support new district and charter schools that give students more high quality choices for their education, to encourage innovation in the classroom, train a new generation of education leaders and support student development." 

He said that despite economic prosperity in most of the Bay Area there are many schools lacking resources. 

"Improving public education in our country and our community is something Priscilla and I really care about," he wrote. "Education is something worth investing in and something we care deeply about." 

SFUSD Superintendent Richard Carranza issued a statement this morning about the Startup: Education donation, which he said would bring in $1 million to early elementary literacy programs and close the digital divide in low-income communities. 

"We are thrilled that Mark and Priscilla have stepped up to support our vision by focusing on the needs of students in San Francisco's most underserved communities," he said. 

Redwood City School District spokeswoman Naomi Hunter said the K-8 district has been working with Startup: Education for the past few months ahead of this morning's announcement. 

She said the details about how the money will be distributed are still being worked out, but "it's great news." 

She said based on conversations with Zuckerberg and his organization, the funding will go toward "closing the digital divide and supporting parents in use of technology in education." 

Ravenswood City School District spokesman Rolando Bonilla said the district has a strong relationship with the social media behemoth. 

Last summer Facebook donated 100 computers to eighth-graders at East Palo Alto's Cesar Chavez Academy. 

He called the latest donation a "tremendous opportunity and validation of the hard work happening throughout the district." 

He said Facebook has been a great neighbor to district schools and is a vital part of the Palo Alto area community. 

Zuckerberg also gave a $100 million donation to public schools in Newark, N.J., about four years ago.

Ann Huff June 01, 2014 at 10:25 PM
I think its wonderful that Mark Zuckenberg donated to our schools, but I predict it will never reach our classrooms. The district will spend it on more "coaches" and specialists, more teacher training programs and technology. Meanwhile we will still have a high percentage of combo classes, jammed with 31 -32, English language learners, poverty, high needs students.
Judi Mahoney June 06, 2014 at 08:48 PM
Hope the RCSD is watched like a hawk. Commenter Huff is absolutely correct in her assessment. How many "donated" Ping golf club SETS have disappeared from Kennedy Middle? What happened to the sewing machines from storage areas? RCSD needs to be absorbed into a larger district so the children get the full benefits from donors.


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