Any other business

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to donate $45bn fortune to charity

4 min read

02 December 2015

Former deputy editor

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla have launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which will see the pair donate $45bn, equivalent to 99 per cent of their shares in the social network, to "advance human potential and promote equality".

The announcement comes on the back of the birth of their daughter Max, who has seemingly served as an inspiration for the pair to give back to the world with their incredible wealth.

Zuckerberg has broadened his philanthropic approach to business over the years, with one notable project arriving in the form of Internet.org – designed to deliver internet connectivity to emerging markets and the 4.5bn people without access to the web.

Then there was his decision to reduce his salary to just $1 in 2014. He explained: “I’ve made enough money. At this point, I’m just focused on making sure I do the most possible good with what I have.”

True to his word, Zuckerberg took to his Facebook page to announce the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that he has launched with wife Priscilla, following the pair writing a lengthy letter to their newborn child. Within it, they detail the problems plaguing the planet and how they would like to solve them.

The effort will be led by donating a majority 99 per cent of their company shares, which are worth $45bn, in order to help shape a world they would like Max and other children to live in.

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“Priscilla and I are so happy to welcome our daughter Max into this world! For her birth, we wrote a letter to her about the world we hope she grows up in. It’s a world where our generation can advance human potential and promote equality – by curing disease, personalising learning, harnessing clean energy, connecting people, building strong communities, reducing poverty, providing equal rights and spreading understanding across nations,” said Zuckerberg in his post.

“We are committed to doing our small part to help create this world for all children. We will give 99 per cent of our Facebook shares – currently about $45 billion – during our lives to join many others in improving this world for the next generation.

“Thank you to everyone in this community for all your love and support during the pregnancy. You’ve given us hope that together we can build this world for Max and all children.”

The letter itself discussed diseases including cancer and the idea of cultivating entrepreneurship “so you can build any business and solve any challenge to grow peace and prosperity”.

The project has been met with praise from high-profile philanthropist Melinda Gates, who said: “As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow. The example you’re setting today is an inspiration to us and the world.”

Zuckerberg was also patted on the back by business partner Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, Shakira and many more names in the spotlight.