Facebook announces major new community initiative

Grants of up to $1m to be offered as part of programme to develop communities

Facebook is investing millions of dollars in a new community leadership initiative aimed at the groups on its platform, offering individual grants of up to $1 million (€815,300).

The Facebook Community Leadership programme will offer a total of $10 million in grants for community leaders, with five $1 million (€807,000) paid directly to those chosen as “community leaders in residence” to fund their proposals. These will be the highest impact ideas that are submitted to Facebook.

A further 100 grants of $50,000 (€40,000) each will be awarded to those chosen as fellows.

The money is part of a major investment by Facebook in developing communities. Up to 200 million users are engaged in communities on Facebook.


"This is one of the most incredible things happening on our platform and the leaders are the essential ingredient. So our plan is to continue to invest in ways that we can provide tools and training to help them do more," explained Chris Cox, Facebook's chief product officer.

Those chosen as community leaders in residence will also get the opportunity to spend five weeks at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, to work directly with the product teams.

“The research we’ve done into what’s the difference between one of these groups that works and one that doesn’t, the answer is the leader,” he said. “It’s in our interests and theirs to invest in helping leaders do great things. The vision is that everyone who uses Facebook should be able to find these groups.”

London summit

The announcement was made at the Facebook Communities Summit in London, an event that brings together hundreds of community leaders for networking, training, workshops and the opportunity to meet with the Facebook product and partnership teams.

This is the first time the event has been held in Europe – the inaugural event was in Chicago last year.

Facebook is also bringing in new tools for admins, such as a streamlined hub that will allow them to more easily manage their groups, a section for group announcements from administrators, and a dedicated section for group rules. Facebook will also allow more personalisation for groups, setting themes and colours.

“We’re increasingly taking direction and roadmap from what the leaders are saying,” said Mr Cox.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist