Just before showing off its latest Prineville data center developments to local and national reporters, Facebook announced Wednesday it is donating $182,000 to two Crook County organizations in order to further the community's technological and economic development.
The donation represents the entirety its Business Energy Tax Credit pass-through payment, which it earned through its 2011 LEED® Gold Certification sustainable building status.
Crook County High School will receive $100,000 to support the school's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education.
"We're hoping these grants will help prepare and inspire Crook County High School students to pursue jobs and careers in the technology, engineering, science and math fields," said Ristine Williams, Facebook Prineville site coordinator and long-time resident of Crook County.
"In the United States, only 33 percent of eighth graders are interested in STEM majors and only 6 percent of high school seniors will get a bachelor's degree in a STEM field. Increasing the STEM education focus and resources at Crook County High School will help more students pursue technology careers."
Crook County High School Principal Rocky Miner said, "Facebook has been a shining example to our students of how technology enhances our lives and our community. Facebook is an incredible community partner for Crook County with their ongoing dedicated support of our region's economic and technological development. We are honored to receive this new support from them, and know that it will help make our kids competitive in the STEM fields."
STEM education programs help prepare students for the jobs of the future. Eighty percent of the fastest-growing careers in the U.S. today depend upon mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge.
Miner helped Facebook identify two Crook County high school students who interned at the data center in 2012. Seniors Shad Bennight and Nathaniel Stevenson joined school and Facebook officials at Wednesday's announcement at Crook County High School.
Both are pursuing education and training for future careers in technology. Two more Crook County students are expected to intern at the data center this summer.
The Crook County Foundation will receive $82,000 for support including an economic development study, focusing on increasing revenue through event tourism.
"Facebook is not just in Prineville; we are a part of Prineville," said Williams. "We are an invested community member and partner, and we want to continue to help it grow economically. To that end, we are excited to partner with the Crook County Foundation and help explore strengthening and expanding its economic opportunities, both in the short- and long-terms."
Said state Rep. Mike McLane of Prineville, "On behalf the Prineville community, we want to thank Facebook for investing in STEM education and economic development in Crook County. Prineville is a great place to learn, do business and visit. New partnerships like these are a great example of the positive difference happening in our communities."
Prineville Data Center's Energy Efficiency Innovation
Facebook's Prineville Data Center is one of the most energy efficient in the world, requiring 52 percent less energy to operate than a comparable data center built to code requirements. It was awarded LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2011. See announcement here.
Innovation was also key to Facebook's achieving its environmental and energy efficiency goals. The company pioneered several new technologies in its design and operation including new energy-efficient server designs, specialized software to optimize server capacity, and a low-energy evaporative cooling system which makes use of the low humidity climate of Central Oregon's High Desert setting to eliminate traditional air conditioners.
Facebook has made the landmark commitment to share—through its Open Compute Project —the proprietary designs that make the Prineville data center so energy efficient in order to help advance energy efficiency in the technology sector.
Wednesday's donation is Facebook Prineville's latest community support effort. In January it announced 2013 Facebook Prineville Local Grants Program grant winners. The community grant program, now in its third year, awards more than $105,000 to Crook County schools and nonprofit organizations to put the power of technology to use for community benefit, help improve and expand education at all levels and to help bring people the community together.