Facebook is set to join the S&P 500 tomorrow and will be selling nearly 70 million shares – approximately 4 billion dollars worth – in a second public offering. According to TechCrunch, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg intends to convert 18 million of those shares into a gift for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The donation will amount to roughly $1 billion dollars, if the current stock price holds.
The Foundation provides fundraising support, grant-making and innovation advancement to nonprofit organizations in the region.
The immense philanthropic gift comes at a rocky time in the Facebook-nonprofit relationship. This week, Facebook announced tweaks in their algorithm which will reduce page post impressions for nonpaying users. At the same time, they rolled out their new Donate feature, which allows users to make direct donations to nonprofits via Timeline and Pages. These two developments have received backlash from some nonprofit thought leaders, who note reduced post views and “Donate Now” aren’t so symbiotic.
The Community Organizer 2.0 blog posted, “Facebook is becoming a pay-to-play space, and there is not much anyone can do about it.” There have since been calls for Facebook to create an ad grant program, similar to the one provided by Google, so nonprofit organizations have a real opportunity to utilize features like Donate. A petition to Mark Zuckerberg is currently public on change.org.
The question remains: Is Facebook a nonprofit friend or foe?
Image Credit: JD Lasica