Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan on Tuesday announced the birth of their first child, a girl, with a pledge committing 99% of their shares in Facebook to charity.
“We will give 99% of our Facebook shares -- currently about $45 billion -- during our lives,” Zuckerberg said in a note to his daughter, whom they have named Max Chan Zuckerberg, posted on his Facebook page.
The Facebook co-founder, who is among the world’s richest, is not giving away all his wealth in one shot. It will go over the couple’s “lives” as he said in the post, and up to $1 billion a year over the next three years, the company said in a securities filing.
Zuckerberg and his wife have set up a new body to manage this money that he has pledged called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” he said in the post.
In the lengthy note to his daughter Zuckerberg lays out his vision, but in reply to a congratulatory post he explained why he decided to give away so much and at such an early age — he is only 31: “Two main ideas have led us to start early. First is that we have a lot to learn and giving, like anything else, takes practice to do effectively. So if we want to be good at it in 10-15 years, we should start now. Second is that any good we do will hopefully compound over time. If we can help children get a better education now then they can grow up and help others too in the time we might have otherwise waited to get started.”
He told Melinda Gates, in reply to her congratulatory message, that she and her husband, Bill Gates, who have together given away $28 billion since 2007 to health issues around the globe, remain an inspiration for him and is wife.
Zuckerberg and his wife, who met at Harvard (Zuckerberg dropped out famously), have announced several donations and investments in the education sector recently. And Zuckerberg is a part of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a Bill Gates initiative, announced during the climate change conference in Paris.
Zuckerberg had earlier announced he was going on paternity leave for two months in a nod and a push to a growing demand in the United States for family leave — paternity, maternity and adoptive — for employers to take care of their children.