Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife pledged to give 99 percent of their Facebook shares, currently worth about $45 billion, to their latest charitable venture called the “Chan Zuckerberg initiative”.
The announcement was made on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page as the couple welcomed the birth of their baby daughter named Max.
Zuckerberg and his wife created the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, a limited liability company which has a mission to “advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.”
“Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a letter to his newborn daughter. (Image: Facebook.com)
The social media tycoon said: ”We have a basic moral responsibility to tilt our investments.”
Zuckerberg wrote: “Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.”
“As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation,” the open letter continues.
“Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
Zuckerberg had previously pledged to give away half his fortune away over his lifetime when he was 26, as part of an initiative called The Giving Pledge spearheaded by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. He has given away $1.6 billion so far in his philanthropic efforts.
The charitable move was inspired by the birth of their daughter Max.
The philanthropist said that he and his wife were committed to spending their lives playing a “small part” in resolving some of the world’s most pressing problems.
He will also “continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come”.
It is important to note that this is a long-term vision. Zuckerberg stressed: ”We must make long term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking.”
Zuckerberg’s “new approach” for working towards these goals:
Zuckerberg’s latest announcement is strikingly similar to when Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates created the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which funds new techniques to help farmers in developing countries grow more food and earn more money; create tools to prevent and treat deadly diseases; and develop new methods to help students and teachers in the classroom.
Melinda Gates submitted the following comment on Zuckerberg’s post:
“Welcome to the world, Max! Bill Gates and I can’t wait to meet you. You are lucky to have such an amazing mom and dad.
“Mark and Priscilla: Congratulations—we’re thrilled for both of you! Raising children is a great adventure and the best thing we have ever done together. You will be fantastic parents.
“As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow. The example you’re setting today is an inspiration to us and the world.
“We can be confident of this: Max and every child born today will grow up in a world that is better than the one we know now. As you say, “seeds planted now will grow.” Your work will bear fruit for many decades to come.”