Facebook donation used to inspire teachers

September 22, 2011 6:23:28 AM PDT
A portion of the $100 million donation from Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg to the Newark school system will be given to teachers who come up with innovative classroom programs.

The foundation that manages the Facebook gift announced the two-year $600,000 program that provides $10,000 grants to teachers or groups of teachers.

It was one year ago this week that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made the stunning announcement on Oprah.

It was a 100-million dollar gift to Newark public schools to better educate and prepare the children here.

Some of it has already been used to create new schools and now some of it will be used as an incentive for teachers to come up with innovative ways to teach.

The man behind the plan is Greg Taylor, who Mayor Cory Booker calls an "impact player."

Taylor is heading up the foundation for Newark's future, the fund dolling out Zuckerberg's money.

He says these individual 10 thousand dollar grants are designed to take the best from within this community and spread it around.

"This will be planned and designed and implemented by Newark teachers," Taylor said.

It's music to Joe Delgrosso's ears. He heads Newark's teachers union.

A good first step, he says, with the hopes that more of this kind of money will follow when the foundation sees it's making a difference.

All of this is making a difference, the mayor said. Charter schools and district schools will benefit, and in the end that means all the children will too.

The foundation is still taking matching grants. They have already raised an additional 47-million on top of Zuckerberg's 100-million.

The teacher's union is excited about these grants and hopes more of this kind of money will follow when the foundation sees just how well these programs work.