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Priscilla Chan, wife of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, cites Dorchester experience in making $12.1 million grant

Priscilla Chan with husband Mark Zuckerberg
Jeff Chiu/AP/file
Priscilla Chan with husband Mark Zuckerberg

Quincy native Priscilla Chan — you may know her better as Mrs. Mark Zuckerberg — was in Dorchester over the weekend to visit the public-housing projects where she ran an after-school program while a student at Harvard.

We know Chan was at Franklin Hill and Franklin Field because she wrote about it on her Facebook page, calling the kids and families served by the Franklin Hill Afterschool Enrichment program her “home away from home” while she was at Harvard.

The experience of working with those low-income kids in Dorchester made a big impression on Chan, and it’s one of the reasons the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — a philanthropic entity operated by Chan and her husband, the founder of Facebook — has created a $12.1 million, 15-year grant in support of Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard. It was as part of the student-run PBHA that Chan started the after-school program.

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“This generous gift will provide opportunities for even more of Harvard’s remarkable and committed undergraduates to follow Priscilla’s example of community service while at the College,” Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement. “We are grateful to Priscilla, Mark, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for their help and partnership in creating pathways to pursue a lifetime of public service for our students regardless of their backgrounds or personal resources.”

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Currently, according to Harvard, more than 400 undergrads spend a portion of their summer working with young people from low-income neighborhoods. The grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will help finance up to 2,300 Harvard students in such service projects.

“The opportunity to work with the kids of Franklin Hill inspired me to pursue a career dedicated to serving children and families as a pediatrician and educator,” Chan said in a statement. “It’s my hope this gift will give many more students the ability to choose service that will inspire their passion and build their skills as the next generation of public service leaders.”