On Giving Tuesday, the global day dedicated to giving back, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that he and his wife are planning to donate 99% of Facebook shares, over the course of their lives, to charity. More specifically, in a pledge to their newborn daughter, Max, the couples current holdings of approximately $45 billion will go towards advancing human potential and promoting equality.
In the same pledge, the couple mentioned forming a new organization called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is an organization, said to have an unusual limited liability corporate structure, where thecouple plans to manage their money. Instead of creating a charitable trust, the organization’s corporate structure provides Zuckerberg more control over what happens to the money he has promised to give away. Though the organizational structure the couple created can benefit the family more than a traditional charitable trust, it can actually make the foundation more effective in that they will be able to make for-profit investments. Zuckerberg also stated that money made from for-profit investments would be put back into the corporation to be used for charitable efforts. In addition, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has the capacity to make political donations – and unlike charitable donations, the corporation does not need to report it.
Zuckerberg and Chan have made many charitable donations in the past but have received some mixed results. For example, the couple gave $100 million to improve schools in Newark; however, they received a strong resistance from many parents, human activists and unions. This particular donation resulted in criticism because the majority of donation was used for consultants and did not actually improve the system. As experience has shown Zuckerberg and Chan, it seems inevitable the two formed a more controlled corporation rather than a LLC. A hard lesson learned for the couple, they still haven’t given up on their future goals for the world. They plan to begin their new initiative by focusing on not only the individual concern for their own child’s future, but also for future generations across the world.
The start of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be to “personalize learning, cure disease, connect people and build strong communities,” which is a continuance of many charitable donations that they have made prior to the announcement, but this time, with experience. Although it is considered a relatively small donation to the amount of work and money already put into the proposed causes, $45 billion will hopefully make a long-term dent for future generations.
After posting the letter to Facebook, Bill Gate’s wife, Melinda, commented on the post saying:
“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 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, “seed planted now will grow.” Your work will bear fruit for many decades to come.
With love and admiration,
Find the letter from Zuckerberg and Chan HERE.