Silicon Valley is increasingly doing its bit to help improve public infrastructure and key services in California to directly help those who are less fortunate.
In April we heard of billionaire Marc Benioff and his wife’s initiatives to improve access for children’s medical care in the Bay area with a donation of US$100 million to two children’s hospitals. A month later Benioff rounded up another US$10 million for a number of silicon valley tech firms to help fight poverty in San Francisco as well through his San Francisco Gives initiative. The SF Gives program has a target of raising as much as US$100 million eventually.
Now Mark Zuckerberg, who last year already gave about US$1 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation for causes it would choose to select, this week announced on his Facebook page that he and his wife Priscilla Chan are going to donate US$120 million over the next five years directly to help schools in the San Francisco area.
Grants will be made to help provide computers and Internet access in public schools, as well as to help training teachers and bring on board parents to better keep students on track with their studies.
Zuckerberg commented on his Facebook page that “The Bay Area is one of the most prosperous places in the world, but there so many schools here that don’t have the resources they need.”
“Improving public education in our country and our community is something Priscilla and I really care about, and we want to change this.”
Zuckerberg started a similar initiative our years ago when he gave US$100 million to help improve schools in Newark, New Jersey. He admits that much of the work started in Newark is still something of a work in progress.
“The investments we’ve made are a drop in the bucket compared to the challenges schools face, ” Zuckerberg said of his New Jersey programme. “But we’ve seen that targeted investments can be catalysts for much bigger changes in communities.”