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Jim Piazza, Facebook’s director of data center operations for the central area of the United States, gives a tour of Facebook’s Papillion Data Center to reporters during the data center's opening in June.

Now that Facebook has a data center up and running in Sarpy County, the social media giant is planning to lend a hand in the neighborhood.

The company is accepting applications for the Facebook Community Action Grants program, which will provide funding to several projects focused on technology, connection and STEM education in the county.

Successful applications will come from organizations that do one of the following: address critical community needs through the power of technology; connect people online or off; or improve local science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Matt Sexton, Facebook’s regional community development manager, said the grants program is a “way for local nonprofits who are really contributing to the vitality of Sarpy County to get a little support.”

The application period began Monday and ends at midnight Dec. 4. The company expects to announce recipients in early 2020.

Those wishing to apply can do so online.

Sexton said the number of grants awarded will depend on the quantity and quality of the applications Facebook receives. The total amount awarded will also depend on the selected projects.

“We certainly anticipate the total to be north of six figures annually,” Sexton said.

Facebook has been supporting the community in other ways. It worked with the Papillion-La Vista Community Schools to create skilled and technical trade programs related to STEM education in the district. A similar partnership is being planned with the Springfield Platteview Community Schools.

Applications for the Community Action Grants program must come from registered charitable organizations in the U.S., including 501(c)(3) public charities, public schools, government entities and municipalities. Facebook is working with Charities Aid Foundation of America to award the grants.

More information on eligibility guidelines can be found on the Papillion data center’s Facebook page.

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