Mark Zuckerberg, the Social Media mogul and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the arrival of their first child, and unlike other parents, the celebrations didn’t just stop there. Mark and his wife will be donating 99% of the shares they own in Facebook to charity which are currently valued at $45 billion. The latest philanthropic effort of the couples will be routed through a new entity, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC.
As part of its initial endeavors, the organisation will focus on personalised learning, curing disease and connecting people. In the letter to his new born daughter, Mark further emphasizes the need to manage diseases by leveraging technology. He also focusses on two major aspects – advancing human potential and promoting equality. The letter outlines the health concerns faced by the humans and also harnessing clean energy, something that Bill Gates and other world leaders have got involved in.
This is not the first time that a Business magnate has turned to philanthropy, In fact Bill Gates’ Bill & Melinda foundation is said to be one of the largest operated private foundation in the world with a cumulative endowment of US $44.3 Billion.
Zuckerberg said “I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work,” He further added that “By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives.”
According to Facebook’s securities filing, Zuckerberg owns nearly 4 million Class A shares in Facebook and 419 million super voting shares. Inspite of the fact that a major chunk of these shares will be channelized for the couple’s philanthropic efforts (over the rest of his life, not all at once), the funds for which will not exceed more than $1 billion worth of Facebook stock each year. However, Zuckerberg will be retaining his majority voting position in Facebook Shares.
We’d assume there are no two words about this generous move by Mark and Priscilla, but it’d have been nice if they clarified a bit more on where exactly the money will go. Also, BuzzFeed notes that The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not even an actual charitable organization, but rather structured as an LLC. Unlike a charitable trust, which is compelled to spend its money on charity, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC will be able to spend its money on whatever it wants, including private, profit-generating investment. This isn’t as straight forward as it seems from the outset.