Why Mark Zuckerberg Is Giving Away 99% of His Facebook Shares

December 1st 2015

Laura Donovan

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg just published a long Facebook letter to his newborn baby girl, Max, that reveals he and his wife Priscilla Chan have launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to "join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation." In his letter to Max, Zuckerberg vowed to donate 99 percent of his Facebook shares, roughly $45 billion, to charity during his lifetime. Known for their philanthropy, the couple has already donated more than $1.6 billion to charity over the past ten years.

Zuckerberg, who signed The Giving Pledge several years ago as a promise to give most of his wealth to philanthropy, has famously donated $100 million to the Newark Public School System and $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fight Ebola, among his other philanthropic efforts.

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The Chan Zuckerberg initiative will focus on "personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities," he wrote. The letter has already gone viral on social media, and Bill and Melinda Gates have already issued a message of support for the new baby and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

"As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow," Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in a press release for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. "The example you’re setting today is an inspiration to us and the world. We can be confident of this: Max and every child born today will grow up in a world that is better than the one we know now. As you say, 'seeds planted now will grow.' Your work will bear fruit for many decades to come."

Zuckerberg, who recently made news for announcing his plans to take a two-month paternity leave, shared a photo of him, Chan, and the infant at the top of his long essay to Max.

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Mark Zuckerberg baby

Zuckerberg wrote that even though the world currently faces many challenges, there has been significant improvement in areas such as health care and that Max's quality of life will be better than his own as a result.

"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," he wrote. "Today, most people die from five things -- heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases -- and we can make faster progress on these and other problems. Once we recognize 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."



A few weeks before Max’s birth, Priscilla and Mark took a morning to reflect and record their hopes for their daughter and all children of her generation.

Posted by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative on Tuesday, December 1, 2015


He went on to highlight a series of well wishes for his daughter's generation.

"Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality," he wrote. "Today we are robbed of the potential so many have to offer. The only way to achieve our full potential is to channel the talents, ideas and contributions of every person in the world."

Zuckerberg also pointed out that today's leaders will need to do certain things to pave the way for his daughter's generation to lead good lives.

"For your generation to live in a better world, there is so much more our generation can do. Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges. I will continue to serve as Facebook's CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives ... Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children. We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can't wait to see what you bring to this world."

Zuckerberg's letter to his daughter received a lot of love on social media, racking up more than 230,000 likes, including from prominent people such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington:

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook comments

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