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Eagle Mountain Facebook Data center awards grants to nonprofits, schools

By Ryne Williams daily Herald - | Mar 25, 2021

Eagle Mountain is going to be home to one of the newest Facebook communities, with a massive data center making its way into Utah County. With the move, Facebook has begun trying to become active in surrounding communities.

The most recent example involves community action grants being given out to nonprofits and schools around the county.

“The entire team at Facebook loves this grant program,” Facebook Community Development Regional Manager William Marks said. “It’s really for these local projects that address a critical need in the communities here in Utah County.”

These grants are given to grassroots nonprofits and schools in the communities where Facebook is involved and it’s not just done in the United States. In 2020, Facebook donated over $2.1 million in community action grants across the world.

With the grants, Facebook looks at three things. These are STEM education, technology, and connecting people online and offline.

For the STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) education factor, Marks said that Facebook is always trying to support it. This includes students who may need technology in the classroom, and Facebook believes that STEM education encompasses a broad spectrum as well.

Examples of this include money going to help provide audio technology to enhance reading programs for elementary school students while another involves grants for a weather system and software to monitor weather patterns.

As for technology, some of the grants are being used to purchase laptops, iPads, software, and more. The goal is to give people the technology to help others, according to Marks.

One of the groups that filled this aspect of the grants is the Penny Project, which received $10,000 to provide books, school supplies, technology and educational resources to minority students throughout Utah County.

“The Penny Project is so thankful for the Facebook Community Action Grants program,” said Connie Montoya, founder of The Penny Project. “We believe in making change one child at a time with a network of supporters who continue to bless us with donations, and we’re proud to say we helped more than 300 kids in our community last year with backpacks, school supplies, and clothing. A true community is not just about being geographically close to someone, or part of the same social circle, it’s about feeling connected and responsible for what happens in our community. Humanity is our ultimate community and everyone plays a crucial role. Thank you, Facebook!”

Facebook is an online social media platform but the company also values offline connections as well. One grant, in particular, is going to the Provo Bicycle Collective, which will help support bike workshops that teach kids how to maintain and fix their bicycles.

These grants, as well as other efforts in Utah County, are in an effort to establish a community feel, something Marks says is important to Facebook.

“We don’t just work here, we live here too,” Marks said. “We are here for the long term. We just announced a big expansion with the fifth and sixth buildings in Eagle Mountain, and that’s going to keep us here building for many, many years. We really feel like a welcomed, valued partner in the community. We’re going to be here for the long term, and it’s about supporting the long-term viability of this community.”

This was only the first year that these community action grants were awarded in Utah County, but Marks said the application process will open again come next year. He encouraged people to follow the Eagle Mountain Data center Facebook page to stay up to date.

The hope is that the grants will continue to support the local community, with that support being a continued mission for the company as it makes its way into Utah County.

“It’s really about the people,” Marks said. “The people who work in the data center are also members of the community and these are our neighbors. We want to be part of it, not just in funding through grants but also supporting them in person, supporting them with volunteer efforts, and being there to be good neighbors.”

Marks added that the team in Eagle Mountain is excited to be serving traffic later this year and also is excited to visit some of the organizations that received grants soon.

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