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Post image for Menlo Park family takes action on immigration policy with fundraising campaign

It was the photo of a young girl at the border about to be separated from her mother that caught Menlo Park resident Charlotte Willner’s attention. She decided to take action, and along with her husband Dave and friend Malorie McGee, started a fundraising campaign on Facebook for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) last Saturday morning (June 16) with a goal of raising $1,500, the minimum amount to cover bond fees.

Word spread around the country — and then the world — and they’ve raised $11,255,540 as of Wednesday morning, June 20,  from 125,000+ people. The effort is showing no sign of stopping with a new fundraising goal of $15,000,000; additional donations are welcome.

“Regardless of political party, so many of us are distraught over children being separated from their parents at the border,” said Charlotte. “We can’t all be on the frontlines to help these families, but by supporting RAICES, we’re able to do something that takes less than a minute, and collectively has an impact.

“When we all come together in community efforts like this, we can find an antidote to the feelings of helplessness. This is just the start though, and donating is the easy part, so our hope is that people continue to be hungry for information and get involved.”

The campaign has been so successful that Facebook had to update their product to allow for more giving because the previous cap was $5 million. “Facebook only permits you to set one beneficiary of a fundraiser, but there are other amazing organizations out there that also need support, including Texas Civil Rights Project and the Florence Project,” said Charlotte.

Photo courtesy of Willner family; Honduran child photographed by John Moore

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Facebook’s Catalyst Housing Fund gets $1 million investment from San Francisco Foundation

Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s VP Corporate Communications & Public Policy, announced today that The San Francisco Foundation is contributing $1 million to the Catalyst Housing Fund. “Though the [Silicon Valley] region is thriving in many ways, our community clearly needs more affordable places to live,” he said in a press release. “That’s why we’re working alongside […]

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks to MPCSD community at Parent Speaker Series Event

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The Menlo Park City School District’s Speaker Series welcomed Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In and Option B to the Hillview stage on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Ms. Sandberg engaged in an intimate, wide-ranging conversation with MPCSD Superintendent Erik Burmeister to a packed house of district parents, leadership, and invited guests including […]

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Facebook launches Access job portal for applicants in surrounding neighborhoods

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Residents of Menlo Park’s Belle Haven neighborhood, North Fair Oaks, and East Palo Alto can now apply for jobs at Facebook through Access, a new local talent portal. Through this free program, local candidates will have increased visibility from a talent partner whose purview includes consulting, career development and employment access for the community. “In […]

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Facebook switches to 100% renewable energy through Peninsula Clean Energy’s ECO100 option

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Facebook switched all electric accounts at its Menlo Park headquarters to Peninsula Clean Energy’s ECO100 option, making Facebook the largest participant in Peninsula Clean Energy’s 100% renewable energy option. “Facebook is committed to being a good neighbor and that includes reducing its potential impact on the environment,” said Lauren Swezey, Facebook Sustainability and Community Outreach […]

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Three homes in Belle Haven get needed repairs and updating with help of Rebuilding Together and Facebook volunteers

Thumbnail image for Three homes in Belle Haven get needed repairs and updating with help of Rebuilding Together and Facebook volunteers

Rebuilding Together Peninsula and Facebook teamed up today to rehabilitate three homes in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park. Two houses on Plumas Avenue and one house on Bieber Avenue got a mix of exterior and interior painting, debris removal, electrical upgrades, accessibility upgrades, landscaping and fence repair, grab bar and handrail installation, bathroom […]

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Facebook announces next step in funding and building affordable housing in neighboring communities

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Building upon a community partnership announced last December called “Envision Transform Build” along with the cities of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto to create regional solutions to the affordable housing crisis, today Facebook announced that the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will manage the Catalyst Housing fund in collaboration with Housing Trust Silicon Valley and possibly other local […]

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With Facebook Willow Campus announcement, a new neighborhood comes to Menlo Park

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Editor’s note: In August 2016, Facebook purchased the 56-acre industrial park called Menlo Science & Technology Park on Willow Road in Menlo Park, which is just south of its corporate headquarters. At that time, a company spokesperson said there was no immediate plans to redevelop the land. That changes with today’s announcement from John Tenanes, VP Global Facilities and […]

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Menlo Fire and Facebook partner to host inaugural 5K run on May 13

Thumbnail image for Menlo Fire and Facebook partner to host inaugural 5K run on May 13

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District and the Menlo Park Firefighters Association are partnering with Facebook Festivals to hold its first Menlo Fire 5K on May 13. Proceeds from the event will go to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF). AARBF is a California based nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing burns and fires and providing […]

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Rebuilding Together Peninsula and Facebook partner on rehabilitating three homes in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Rebuilding Together Peninsula and Facebook partner on rehabilitating three homes in Menlo Park

In honor of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rebuilding Together Peninsula and Facebook partnered yesterday to rehabilitate three homes in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park. Approximately 80 Facebook employees worked alongside Rebuilding Together Peninsula staff and other community members, including Menlo Park City Council member Ray Mueller (pictured below right), to create safe and […]

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Local Meals on Wheels program receives Facebook Community Grant

Peninsula Volunteers is continuing its collaborative efforts with Facebook to assist seniors in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto, in this case those who are unable to cook or shop for themselves and wish to remain in their own homes. Thanks to a $2,500 community grant from Facebook, PVI Meals on Wheels will deliver hot, nutritious meals to […]

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