Mark Zuckerberg and his wife make the largest charitable pledge in history

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla

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[/blockquote]A few days after having their first child, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares to the cause of human advancement. This is a current valuation of about $45 billion, making it one of the largest charitable pledges in history. Although the details of the donation are still unclear, the couple has already registered a Facebook page for an organization called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The full amount is pledged over the course of Zuckerberg’s life, and the Facebook CEO plans to maintain his majority voting position “for the foreseeable future,” according to an SEC filing. In the immediate future, the Initiative will be funded by a series of three annual donations made from the sale of Zuckerberg’s stock, at no more than $1 billion each year.

The Zuckerberg’s initiative’s announcement, focuses on two central goals: advancing human potential and promoting equality. The first goal is defined as “pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be,” including initiatives on medicine, economic opportunity, and access to information. The second group of projects focus more on alleviating poverty and empowering traditionally underrepresented groups. “Our society must do this not only for justice or charity, but for the greatness of human progress,” the letter reads.

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Last year, the couple pledged $25 million dollars to fight the spread of Ebola, with the explicit aim of preventing a larger public health crisis “like HIV or polio.” Zuckerberg also individually donated $100 million to the Newark public school system, although a significant portion of the money was swallowed up by bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Mark Zukerburg’s project has now over taken Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which currently has an endowment of $44 billion. Zuckerberg partnered with Gates earlier this week to fund clean energy research in the wake of the Paris Climate talks, and have worked together on education initiatives in the past.


Image Credit: businessinsider