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Zuckerberg and Chan have a long history of charitable giving

The couple pledged to give away 99% of their wealth in their lifetime, which adds up to $45 billion

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 2, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/41c6

Tuesday was a big day for Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, as the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, which they named Max.

The Facebook CEO announced the birth in a long letter written to his daughter. As exciting as that news is, though, everyone is talking about a pledge Zuckerberg made at the end of the post, in which he promised to give away nearly his entire fortune over his lifetime.

"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. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities," he wrote.

"We will give 99% of our Facebook shares -- currently about $45 billion -- during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others."

Of course such a statement would make news; this is one of the best known tech founders, one of the few to actually have a movie made about him, promising to give away nearly his entire fortune to charity.

The thing is, though, that this should not be a surprise. Zuckerberg and Chan have a long history of supporting philanthropic endeavors, and of giving away huge amounts of their money to charities and worthy causes.

Here's a timeline of some of their work on this front:

All the way back in 2010, Zuckerberg was already giving away most of his money. He signed The Giving Pledge, a campaign started by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, to encourage the wealthiest people in society to give away at least 50% of their money in their lifetime.

In 2012, he donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Mountain View, California that says on the About Us section of its website that it provides investment management and guidance “on the art and science of giving.” At the time those shares were worth a total of $500,000. 

At only 29 years old, Zuckerberg is the youngest person to ever top this list. His age is even more startling when it is revealed that the median age of donors was 72.5 years old.

That same year Zuckerberg founded the Startup: Education foundation, and donated $100 million to the public school system of Newark, New Jersey. He has also held fundraisers for two New Jersey politicians: Senator Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie.

Zuckerberg and Chan topped the list of most charitable people in 2013. Together, the two donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock, which amounted to a whopping $992.2 million. The money was given to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. At only 29 years old, Zuckerberg was  the youngest person to ever top this list. 

Around $4 million of that money went gone to a Boston education start-up that gathers data to assess progress at public schools. Another $5 million went to a community health clinic for low-income families in East Palo Alto.

The couple continued their philanthropic efforts this year, donating $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital in February, then giving $20 million to EducationSuperHighway in November.

Most recently Zuckerberg, along with Chan and Bill Gates, formed a new cleantech initative called  The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which will invest in early stage startups in sectors that include energy and agriculture.

That is not to mention Fwd.us, a PAC formedin 2013 to tackle issues such as immigration, education reform and science funding, as well as Internet.org, the organization formed by Zuckerberg that same year to bring the entire world online.

And before you start feeling sorry for young Max, remember that 1 percent of $45 billion is still $450 million. I think she'll be fine.

(Image source: businessinsider.com)


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