Facebook founder will give away $45,000,000,000 In this photo provided by Mark Zuckerberg, Max Chan Zuckerberg is held by her parents, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announced the birth of their daughter, Max, as well as plans to donate most of their wealth to a new organization that will tackle a broad range of the world's ills. (Mark Zuckerberg via AP)
Facebook founder will give away $45,000,000,000
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Talk about birth announcements: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife say they'll devote nearly all their wealth - roughly $45 billion - to solving the world's problems in celebration of their new baby daughter, Max.
 
Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla Chan, gave birth to a 7-pound, 8-ounce daughter in November. But the couple didn't put out the news until Dec. 1, when Zuckerberg posted it on Facebook, of course.
 
In the same post, Zuckerberg said he and Chan will, over time, commit 99 percent of their Facebook stockholdings to such causes as fighting disease, improving education and "building strong communities." The couple had previously pledged to give away at least half their assets during their lifetime, but hadn't provided specifics.
 
They are forming a new organization, called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which will pursue those goals through a combination of charitable donations, private investment and promotion of government-policy reform.
 
"Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today," the 31-year-old social media mogul and his wife wrote in a letter to their daughter, which they also posted on Facebook.
 
The announcement stunned the charity world. "It's incredibly impressive and an enormous commitment that really eclipses anything that we've seen in terms of size," said Phil Buchanan, president of the nonprofit Center for Effective Philanthropy.
 
By comparison, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of just over $41 billion, which includes wealth donated by the Microsoft founder and his friend, the businessman Warren Buffett.
 
The new initiative will be organized as a limited liability company, however, rather than as a nonprofit foundation. "They want the most flexibility and they are going to use a wide variety of activities to achieve their mission," Rachael Horwitz, a Facebook spokeswoman, said via email. "So in that way this is not a foundation nor is it entirely charitable."
 
The notion of investing money in companies that tackle social issues isn't new, but it has gained more currency among a younger generation of philanthropists, particularly in the tech world.
 
Zuckerberg has also shown a previous interest in influencing public policy. He led other prominent Silicon Valley figures in forming a group, FWD.us, that lobbied and gave donations to congressional candidates in an unsuccessful effort to promote immigration reforms. Depending on how much of the new effort is devoted to lobbying, it could raise new questions about the influence of money in today's politics, some experts said.
 
In the letter to their daughter, Zuckerberg and Chan described their goals as "advancing human potential and promoting equality." They added: "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."
 
While Zuckerberg promised to release more details in the future, he said the couple will transfer most of their wealth to the initiative "during our lives." The couple will be in charge of the initiative, although Zuckerberg won't be quitting his day job.
 
"I have a full time job running Facebook," he told The Associated Press in an interview in November, during which he discussed the couple's approach to philanthropy. Of his job at the social network, he added, "I'm going to be doing this for long time."
 
The Facebook co-founder is one of the world's wealthiest men. He and Chan, a 30-year-old pediatrician, have donated $100 million to public schools in Newark, New Jersey, and pledged $120 million to schools in poor communities of the San Francisco Bay Area. They've also given $75 million to the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where Chan did her medical training.
 
In a statement, Facebook said the couple's plan to transfer their shares over time won't affect his status as controlling shareholder of the company. The company said Zuckerberg has committed to dispose of no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock every year for the next three years.
 
Zuckerberg and Chan had announced on Facebook last July that they were expecting a daughter, after Chan had three previous miscarriages. Horwitz said the baby was born early last week, but declined to say which day.
 
"Mom and baby are both healthy and doing well," Horwitz added. Zuckerberg has said he plans to take two months of paternity leave.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is Mark Zuckerberg giving away so much money?
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COMMENTS (32)
  • colemand-
    12/15/2015 - 08:43 a.m.

    It is great how wealthy people like mark can give up so much of their money to a better cause. Most people today are stingy with money and don't like to give to charity. I also like how he is wanting to make the world a better place for his daughter and for the whole world to live in. mark is probably the most giving billionaire there is.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    12/15/2015 - 03:49 p.m.

    I think its great that he is not being a stereotypical rich man. Most wealthy people are greedy and won't give up their money for anything. I enjoy knowing that good people are actually out there.

  • mattv-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:18 p.m.

    Since they now have a child, they want to make sure that they can do their part in getting children a better world than they have lived in. Zuckerberg is doing as much as possible to do just that.

  • brooklynf-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:18 p.m.

    Mark Zuckerberg is giving away so much money to celebrate the birth of his daughter Max.

  • coled-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:21 p.m.

    CTQ: Mark Zuckerberg is giving away so much money so that the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative will gain money to help out other problems in the country, such as better education and "building strong communities".

  • ethanw-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:25 p.m.

    Mark Zuckerberg is giving away so much money because its in celebration of their new baby.

  • callans-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:25 p.m.

    Mark Zuckerberg is giving away so much money because he is " solving the world's problems". He is doing this in celebration of his daughter's birth.

  • ethany-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:27 p.m.

    mark zuckerberg is giving away so much money because he wants his daughter to live in a better world

  • haleyd1-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:27 p.m.

    Mark Zuckerburg is devoting almost all their wealth (roughly 45 Billion dollars) to solve the worlds problem in celebration of their new baby.

  • elizabetht-fel
    1/06/2016 - 02:27 p.m.

    Mark Zuckerberg is giving away so much money because he has a great deal of wealth and he wants to put it toward making the world better for everyone including his daughter. He wrote his young daughter a letter that basically said that he wanted his daughter to be able to grow up in a world better than ours is now. He also wanted to help with causes that may not receive many donations. I believe that he, now being a father, was just trying to make a better world for his daughter to grow up in.

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