Mark Zuckerberg’s exuberance over the birth of his first child may have put him in a giving mood.
In a Facebook post announcing that his wife Priscilla Chan had given birth to a girl they named Max, Zuckerberg also said the couple would be giving away 99 percent of their Facebook shares — currently worth about $45 billion — over their lifetimes. The idea is to fund an assortment of philanthropic ventures that will help make the world a better place for the next generation.
“We are committed to doing our small part to help create this world for all children,” the Facebook CEO said.
The power couple have set up an organization called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to manage disbursement of the money. “Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” Zuckerberg said.
Chan and Zuckerberg expounded on the initiative in a video posted before the birth of their child.
“We need to make sure that there are investments in programs that ensure that the future isn’t going to be like today,” Chan, a pediatrician, said in the video. “The future is going to be better than today.”
Zuckerberg said more details about the initiative will be shared once he and his wife “settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves.”
Facebook said Zuckerberg’s role at the company won’t change. “He will continue his role as Chairman and CEO for many, many years,” a spokesperson said.
Zuckerberg and Chan are already members of The Giving Pledge — a commitment by some of the world’s richest individuals and families to give away the majority of their fortune to philanthropy. The campaign, which specifically focuses on billionaires, was announced in 2010 by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and business magnate and investor Warren Buffett. Zuckerberg signed that pledge at the ripe age of 26.
“Welcome, Max! And congratulations, Mark and Priscilla. This is fantastic, inspiring news,” Gates wrote on Facebook.