Zuckerberg and Chan top list of America’s most generous after donating US$970m to charity

10 Feb 2014

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan on their wedding day in May 2012

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan topped the table of America’s most generous after giving US$970m to a Silicon Valley-based charity fund.

The donation in the form of Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation by the couple was the biggest donation in the US last year, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The Chronicle’s ranking of the top 50 donors to charitable causes showed the super wealthy contributed US$7.7bn last year, up 4pc on 2012.

Zuckerberg and Chan’s donation has propelled the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to become one of the largest foundations in the US.

Their donation donation was followed by that of the late George Mitchell, the pioneer of hydraulic fracturing in gas discovery, who bequeathed US$750m to his family’s sustainability foundation to ensure that the fracking technology he created doesn’t cause serious environmental damage.

This was followed by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penelope, who gave US$500m for cancer research at the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation with the stipulation that the foundation matches this donation within two years or loses it.

All eyes are on how Zuckerberg and Chan through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation will spend the US$970m donation.

Last year, US$4m was given to a Boston education start-up and US$5m was given to a community health clinic for low-income families in Palo Alto, California.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years