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Facebook distributes second group of grants

Forest City, NC — A group of pre-schoolers, ages 1 to 4, gave a big thumbs-up to Facebook Wednesday morning at The Learning Tree in Forest City.

The day-care/preschool is among 16 recipients of Facebook's 2012 class of Facebook Community Grants.

At the direction of the center's teachers and staff, all the children raised their arms, applauded and loudly cheered, at the news they would have an opportunity to "play" with computers and White Boards.

Facebook's Kelly Moore and Keven McCammon presented a $7,500 check to The Learning Tree director Darlene Smith, assistant director Jessic Osteen and teacher, Heather Banfield. Osteen and Banfield wrote the grant and all three women were elated at the news.

"We will be able to offer so much more technology to these children than they might not have right now," said Smith, in receiving the grant. "There is no way we could have done this without this Facebook grant."

Smith said the money will be used to purchase computers for the children, Smart Boards and other items.
"This is a great day and hopefully this will help them throughout their lives," she said.

Parents of the children will also be allowed to come into the center to log onto computers if they desire.

"This is excitement ... we are glad Facebook is here," Smith added.
"Now we are going to have to sit down and figure all this out," she said, adding the staff will determine the best avenues to use the grant.

McCammon told the children and teachers the grant should provide opportunities for them to "play on White Boards and to have computer labs."

There are 78 fulltime children and 21 after school care children at The Learning Tree, which is licensed for 130 children. The center is located on McDonald Road in Forest City. 

Also Wednesday, Facebook also announced it will mark the second anniversary of its groundbreaking in Forest City with a free training session for Rutherford County nonprofits on Monday, Nov. 26, 6-8 p.m. at Isothermal Community College’s Library Auditorium. 

The interactive training will cover Facebook best practices for nonprofits and review several case studies of non-profits successfully using the social networking resource.

The 2012 grant recipients — each of which Facebook will feature on its Forest City Data Center page starting the week of Nov. 1 — are:
  • Lake Lure Classical Academy
  • Forest City Dunbar Elementary School
  • Youth Empowerment Inc.
  • Sunshine Elementary School
  • KidSenses Children's InterACTIVE Museum
  • Isothermal Community College
  • Town of Forest City
  • Rutherford Community Theatre
  • Rutherford Regional Health System
  • Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy
  • Rutherford County Library
  • Rutherford Town Revitalization, Inc.
  • Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation
  • Rutherford County Library Society
  • Rutherford Life Services/The Learning Tree
  • the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition
According to a news release from Facebook, grant recipients were judged individually based on applications submitted via the Forest City Data Center Facebook Page by a team of Facebook staff members in Forest City and the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

“Facebook is thrilled to be able to help these worthy organizations continue their important work in Rutherford County,” said Facebook Forest City Data Center Manager George Henry. “While we now help to connect one billion users around the world, it’s also important for us to remain closely connected to our local community.”

Facebook staff interviewed county, state and national elected officials. Their responses include:

Julius Owens, chair of the Rutherford County Commissioners, said “Facebook is not only a great economic development contributor to Rutherford County, but is also an excellent community citizen. Grants from Facebook last year ran the gamut from education to emergency medical services. These offered additional resources and opportunities to those organizations that make a difference in so many lives in our county.”

Forest City Mayor Dennis Tarlton said, “We are so pleased to hear that Facebook has chosen its second class of Community Action Grant recipients. We are so lucky to have Facebook in our town and community. With todays’ hardships I know that these grants will be a God send and each recipient will be overjoyed with the help from Facebook. Facebook really lives up to their commitment to the community and it is a true pleasure to have such a world class organization in our own backyard."

US Sen. Richard Burr said, “I commend Facebook for recognizing the contributions of these worthy recipients, and I thank them for their support of our students and this community. Our state is home to some of the best and the brightest young people in the nation, and these efforts will help further prepare them to be successful in this economy and contribute their skills and resources to their community.”

US Sen. Kay Hagan, echoed his remarks, "I am thrilled to learn that Facebook has recognized so many of Rutherford County's outstanding nonprofit organizations for their contributions to the community. These grants will provide a welcome boost for the important work that nonprofits do to support essential educational, cultural and community outreach programs in Rutherford County. They also illustrate the importance of partnerships between business and the communities they serve. I applaud both Facebook and Rutherford County's worthy nonprofit organizations."

US Rep. Patrick McHenry: “Congratulations to all of the Community Action Grant award recipients; your dedication to service is truly a blessing. Our community owes you a great debt of gratitude for the hard work your organizations do to help the people of Rutherford County. I applaud Facebook for the active role they’ve taken in supporting the winners and supporting Rutherford County.”

State senators and representatives added:

“We are tremendously grateful to Facebook, not only for expanding operations to Rutherford County, but also for being an outstanding community partner and supporting these valuable projects," said NC Sen. Ralph Hise. 

“I am very pleased at the commitment from Facebook to this community. These grants enable many worthwhile organizations to continue their important work," said NC Sen. Wes Westmoreland.
NC Rep. Mike Hager, “We are grateful to Facebook for taking such an active role in partnering with the community. Rutherford County has gained enormously from Facebook’s presence here, and I look forward to future collaboration with them.”

Read more: The Daily Courier - Facebook s distributes second group of grants to 16 nonprofit groups