Hoping to earn goodwill among its advertising clients and global user base, Facebook announced that it will offer $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses that need assistance in staying afloat during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
For context, the $100 million Facebook said it has earmarked for small business owners represents 1.4% of the company’s net income for the fourth quarter of 2019. The social giant didn’t disclose how businesses can apply to receive the funding or ad credits, saying it will announce more details “as they become available.” The program will be available in over 30 countries.
According to Facebook, more than 140 million small businesses use its services for marketing, the vast majority of which do not pay anything.
COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the program in a Facebook post. “We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them,” she wrote in part. “We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work.”
Facebook also has added information to its Business Resource Hub site about managing business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. That will include “new virtual training to support businesses operating in this new and unsettling environment,” according to Sandberg.
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In addition, the Facebook Journalism Project announced that it will offer $1 million in grants to U.S. and Canadian local news organizations covering the coronavirus crisis, in partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association (LMA). The fund will provide grants of up to $5,000 to local newsrooms to “help cover unexpected costs associated with coronavirus reporting.” Organizations can apply for the grants at this link.