Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pledge 99pc of their wealth to charity

2 Dec 201551 Shares

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Mark Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla Chan and their newborn daughter Max

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In a letter to their newborn daughter Max, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla have pledged to give 99pc of their Facebook shares – currently worth approximately $45bn – to charity during their lifetime.

In a beautiful letter to Max, the Facebook CEO welcomed his daughter into the world and said her arrival inspired Priscilla and him to try harder to make the world a better place.

“Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.

‘We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation’
– MARK ZUCKERBERG

“Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.

“While headlines often focus on what’s wrong, in many ways the world is getting better. Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today.

“We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”

As well as being touching, the letter shows Zuckerberg has a shrewd grasp and sense of the march of science. He points out, for example, that medicine has only been a real science for less than 100 years and already we have made incredible progress in preventing, curing and treating diseases.

“Once we recognise that your generation and your children’s generation may not have to suffer from disease, we collectively have a responsibility to tilt our investments a bit more towards the future to make this reality. Your mother and I want to do our part,” he wrote to his newborn daughter.

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It’s hard to believe that it was only 10 years ago that Zuckerberg created Facebook in a dorm room at Harvard and that he has accomplished so much while still so young.

As well as creating Facebook, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have created the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, which has the ambition of advancing human potential and promoting equality. This it aims to do through connecting people and eradicating poverty and disease.

Under his latest initiative, Zuckerberg will give away 99pc of his Facebook shares valued at $45bn during his lifetime.

‘Community for Mark and Priscilla isn’t just a word, it’s a core value’
– BONO

He will retain control of the majority of his Facebook voting rights and has limited himself to giving away no more than $1bn in Facebook stock each year for the next three years.

His decision is not surprising in the context that Zuckerberg signed the “Giving Pledge” along with the world’s richest man Bill Gates to give away the majority of his wealth.

“The example you’re setting is an inspiration to us and the world,” wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in a statement.

“Mark and Priscilla’s announcement today is life-affirming and will be life-changing for tens of millions of people,” said U2 lead singer Bono.

“The scope of their commitment will be stunning to many, but to their friends it is not surprising. This is who they are. Community for Mark and Priscilla isn’t just a word, it’s a core value.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com