Scared of Ebola? It's Zuckerberg to the rescue!

Steven Loeb · October 14, 2014 · Short URL:

The Facebook founder is giving $25 million to the CDC to help fight the Ebola virus

As with everything these days, the Ebola outbreak (or at least the threat of one) has become a political issue, with Democrats taking aim at Republicans for cuts they made in the Center for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.

It's possible that they may have a point, but what does that do except make for some good ads and possibly bump up some candidates a few points? What they should be doing, instead, is allocating money toward finding a cure for the disease, or at least a vaccination. I wouldn't hold my breath for that, though.

So, in the absence of our elected officials actually doing their jobs, it has become necessary for our most philanthropic citizen to come and save the day.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, are donating $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation in order to help fight Ebola, they announced via a Facebook post on Tuesday.

"The Ebola epidemic is at a critical turning point. It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed," Zuckerberg wrote.

"We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn't spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio."

The fastest way to get the CDC to act, he said, is to simply give them the money directly.

It's not a shock that Zuckerberg and Chan would do this; after all they were named the most charitable people in 2013, having donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock, which amounted to a total of $992.2 million. If no one else was going to step up to help, they would. 

A big portion of their charity has so far gone toward education. Zuckerberg founded the Startup: Education foundation in Newark, New Jersey, and personally donated $100 million to the Newark public school system. In December of last year, Startup: Education, along with Bill Gates’s The Gates Foundation, participated in a $9 million philanthropic investment in EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit aiming to help K-12 schools get connected to reliable, high-capacity Internet access.

Most recently, Zuckerberg donated $120 million to Bay Area schools. 

Silicon Valley philanthropy

Also on that list of top charitable people was Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki, who came in at number 9 after donating $219 million to the Brin Wojcicki Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. 

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison donated $72.2 million to the Lawrence Ellison Foundation, making him the 26th most philanthropic person in 2013. 

Others who have made hefty donations include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who has donated more than $1 billion through the Omidyar Network to causes that include poverty alleviation, human rights and disaster relief. 

Intel founder Gordon Moore created the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation which has made around $3 billion in grants for causes such as environmental conservation and patient care. 

Recently, Oculus co-founders Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov, gave $35 million to their alma mater, The University of Maryland. Iribe's $31 million portion of the gift was the largest the university had ever received since it was established in 1856.

The vast majority of the money will be used to build a new computer science building, called the "Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation." $1 million of the gift will be used to establish the Brendan Iribe Scholarship in Computer Science.

If that all weren't enough, Iribe’s mother, Elizabeth Iribe, also donated another $3 million, bringing the total from all three to $38 million altogether.

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