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Chase commits $5 million to Facebook charity campaign

Members of the social network are encouraged to install an app that lets them vote on which local nonprofit should get the grand prize in contest.

Chase announced Monday a partnership with Facebook to power the finance company's inaugural "Community Giving" campaign, which will allocate a total of $5 million to small, local nonprofits voted on by Facebook members.

The campaign takes the form of--you guessed it--a Facebook Platform application, in which members can choose their favorite of more than 500,000 nonprofits. Naturally, then, they're encouraged to use the hallowed "social graph" to encourage their friends to do so as well.

The winner gets $1 million in a grand-prize announcement slated for February 1; five runners-up get $100,000 apiece, and then the entire top 100 receives $25,000 apiece. There's an advisory board consisting of celebrities and Chase execs, as well as Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage.

The publicity effort for Community Giving, which reached out to celebrity Twitter users in both the entertainment and nonprofit space in addition to the mainstream press to spread the word, says it's been an early success: over 12,000 Facebook members signed on in the first day.

That's not quite as many as the hundreds of thousands who rallied to support a prospective Stephen Colbert presidential campaign in the matter of a week, or the tens of thousands who opted to follow actor Neil Patrick Harris in his first 24 hours on Twitter, but for something that's a legitimate charity effort rather than a goofy viral meme, it's respectable.

Facebook has traditionally been hands-off about partnerships on its application platform, but nonprofit and public interest-related projects have been the exception: the social network forged several media-outlet deals during the 2008 presidential election, partnered with nonprofits to create virtual gifts for its "Facebook for Good" campaign, and synced up with the Huffington Post for a "social news" experiment.

It was less than two years ago that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that corporate philanthropy wasn't an immediate goal for the social network because, at the time, it simply didn't have the profits.