Facebook is currently accepting applications for their Community Action Grant program

by: JASON CHANEY - Prineville eight-year-old Erica Bishop and her one-year old sister play an educational game at the computer station at Crook County Library. The computers were funded in part by a 2013 Facebook Community Action Grant.

For the past three years, Facebook has annually provided Crook County nonprofits with a round of grants, and they are now planning to do it again.

From now until Dec. 15, Facebook is accepting applications for their Community Action Grant program. They will again provide about $105,000 to multiple recipients, with no single grant exceeding $15,000.

“This is something that Facebook started pretty early on when they first came to Prineville,” said Lee Weinstein, Facebook spokesman. “It was Facebook’s goal and commitment to give back to the community when they came to Prineville.”

Weinstein explained that the grants target areas of interest for both Prineville and Facebook, and consequently emphasize improving education, and putting technology to use to further human interaction and connection.

“Facebook is all about connecting people to each other,” he said. “That can happen online, but it can also happen in the community.”

The grant program focuses exclusively on Crook County and dollars are given to nonprofits that meet a certain set of criteria. According to their grant application, eligible organizations must have a Facebook page, and allocated funds must be spent during a specific time period and demonstrate metrics that can be publicly reported.

The requirements rule out organizations that support a specific religion or political doctrine as well as proposals for an individual’s use.

Last year, Facebook selected 26 recipients for grants including the Crook County Library and Crook County Search and Rescue.

The library received $5,000 for the purchase of new early literacy station computers. The grant money, coupled with additional funding from Friends of the Library, enabled them to purchase two computers for children to use.

“They have touch screens and they are loaded with 60 educational games in both English and Spanish,” said Barrett Miller, youth and adult services librarian. “They are very easy to use, which is much better than our previous game computers, which only had a couple of options and always crashed.”

Search and Rescue used $7,000 to upgrade their computer equipment, particularly for laptops that they use for mapping when they go out in the field.

“A lot of stuff we had was pretty antiquated — didn’t work half the time,” said Search and Rescue Coordinator Brandi Lange.

The 2013 grant was one of two that Search and Rescue has received from Facebook. In 2012, they used the grant to purchase a snowmobile.

“They are great,” Lange said of the grants. “The application is pretty simple.”

Community Action Grants for 2014 will be awarded in the late winter or early spring.

To apply for a grant, visit Applications are due no later than midnight Dec. 15, 2013.

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