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Facebook data center taking 2015 grant applications

Will fund projects that enhance education, or address a local need

They helped fund the Picnic in the Park series.

They enabled the Humane Society of the Ochocos to microchip 600 animals free of charge.

They have provide Crook County High School teachers the opportunity to launch an innovative science programs for their students.

The Facebook Prineville Data Center is once again accepting applications for its Community Action Grants program. Launched in 2011, the program has provided more than 100 grants to local organizations and entities totaling more than $400,000.

More than $100,000 in cash grants will be awarded in 2015, and applicants have until Dec. 15 to put their name in the hat.

Facebook is seeking qualifying nonprofits with short-term, impactful projects in Crook County that address critical community needs, or that improve education and promote local economic development. Each recipient could receive up to $15,000.

“Why we put that criteria in place really is to encourage big projects – thinking outside the box,” said Ristine Williams, site coordinator for Facebook Data Center. “We are looking for projects that impact the community in a positive way.”

Williams added that grants would not fund operating costs, staff hires, or other expenditures not associated with a particular project.

“We love things like Picnic in the Park that bring the community together,” she said, offering similar praise for Christmas in the Pines, a drive-through light display that received a community action grant last year.

“That brings people from all over,” Williams said.

The Humane Society of the Ochocos used their grant money to purchase 600 microchips for cats and dogs as well as two scanners apiece for the Prineville Police Department and the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.

“This has given us an opportunity to give back to the community,” said HSO executive director Heather O’Daniel. “If a stray dog is picked up, the Prineville police or sheriff’s office can scan it first and try to return it to its owner.”

The Humane Society could not have purchased the microchipping equipment without the Facebook grant, O’Daniel said.

“We are very thankful for them.”

Crook County High School received several community action grants in 2014, enabling them to make advances in science class offerings.

“They have been able to fund some innovative projects that teachers have applied for that has been able to increase the amount of technology that we are using with students,” said CCHS Principal Michelle Jonas. She explained that teachers can take advantage of a district-wide technology plan, but the grants have enabled them to pursue projects localized to their class only.

“We are just so thankful for all of the support Facebook has given to not only Prineville, but Crook County School District,” Jonas said.

Groups may apply for Facebook Data Center Community Action Grants by visiting HYPERLINK "http://www.facebook.com/PrinevilleDataCenter" www.facebook.com/PrinevilleDataCenter. The deadline for application is Dec. 15, at 5 p.m. Grant awards will be announced in spring 2015.

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