City agreed to policy positions to get grant from Zuckerberg-funded organization

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University in Washington in 2019. AP photo.

This story was originally printed Dec. 10 in the Daily Post. If you want all of the important local news first, pick up the Post in the mornings at 1,000 Mid-Peninsula locations.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto agreed to pass progressive housing policies, including protections for renters, when the City Council accepted a grant from a foundation funded by Mark Zuckerberg last summer.

The council is currently working on policies to help renters, such as a rental registry, eviction protections and requiring landlords to pay relocation assistance. The council has expressed support for the policies but hasn’t approved any of them.

But on June 1, 2020, the council signed an agreement with a philanthropic nonprofit and a research institute to host someone who would work on renter protections and affordable housing. As part of the agreement, the city signed on to “design and implement improvements to housing protection and preservation programs to advance racial equity.”

The agreement says the city will “develop a set of high-impact tenant protection and preservation policies and ensure adoption.”

The city also agreed to analyze the number of low-income people and minorities who are in long-term affordable homes.

The decision was on the council’s consent calendar, so it was voted on without discussion along with several other items.

Lauren Bigelow, who works for a research institute called PolicyLink, is on the job. Her salary is paid by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation, a multi-million nonprofit that gives out grants to other nonprofits.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and other large foundations fund the San Francisco Foundation, though its funding sources aren’t entirely clear.

The San Francisco Foundation’s IRS documents from last year show that 10 people contributed more than $10 million, but their names aren’t included on the form. The largest individual donation was $37.6 million.

The foundation also received 29,105 shares of Facebook stock, worth $6 million, in December 2019, according to IRS documents.


  1. Give the money back and tear up the agreement. Funding should come from taxes or grants with no strings attached – not from Zuckerberg gaining tax write-offs to manage city policy. The city and community of Palo Alto is a place with many interests and many points of view. It is highly disturbing that Zuckerberg or any others, including Soros, should try to manipulate the CC. In what is basically back room deals. Apparently, as of 2020, only 1.7% and 4.6% of Facebook’s technical employees were black and Hispanic respectively, less than 3.4% of it’s leadership was black. Maybe Facebook should adopt some racial equity quotas of it’s own.

  2. Dig down into the linked documents and you will see that the Partnership for the Bay Area is dedicated to advancing the agenda of CASA, the secretive MTC-sponsored “collaborative” that was the seedbed for SB35, SB827, AB1487 and more.

  3. This deal should not be allowed. We need to stop this terrible trend of these globalist elites who are practically buying off government and public policy through shadowy organizations. Try and research many of the leftist .orgs and you’ll run into labyrinths of dead ends, no publicly available information on leadership, funding sources, or their real agenda. Many have evil Soros connections with radical political agendas yet receive 501c tax deduction status (illegal!).

    Adding insult to injury, the Zuckerbergs have figured out they can determine public policy and influence elections all while taking big tax write offs. That is not government “by the people,” that is corruption and shadow government control of our communities by wealthy globalist elites.

    SB35 will do so much damage to so many communities as it takes away all local community control of their towns’ destinies and local culture. We need better housing solutions in California, but enforcing centralized control from leftist controlled Sacramento, overriding all local community interests, and giving outside developers complete control of massively disruptive projects will destroy countless communities. There is a better way! It includes returning control to local communities to create their destinies, not globalist elites sitting in their secured gated estates and state commissioned developers.

    The solution includes the end of unfettered access to Bay Area real estate by foreigners, especially Chinese CCP affiliates bidding up prices. Secondly, we need creative incentives to fully redevelop Silicon Valley for 21st century with housing for new work from home and hybrid work. Allow local communities to partner with local developers to completely re imagine Alma and El Camino corridors. By renovating 70 year old one story apartment blocks into beautiful new multi story units and renovating hundreds of vacant and almost vacant old office complexes into modern live/work housing complexes all linked with with beautiful meandering green spaces and bicycle/walkways, we can reinvent Silicon Valley, including Palo Alto. It should be a regional effort, led by local citizens with a big vision to make The Valley of Hearts Delight Great Again. America First is the way!

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