Billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his physician wife, Priscilla Chan, today, Tuesday, announced the birth of their daughter Max. That's not all. In a heartfelt Facebook post, Zuckerberg also declared the couple's plans to donate 99% of their Facebook fortune to charity during their lifetimes. As of this writing, that's essentially a $46.6 billion donation.
I guess that's sort of good news/bad news for their daughter. The good news is you're born and your parents are extremely rich and famous! The bad news is, they also just gave away 99% of your future trust fund. (Not to worry though, the Zuckerberg/Chan fortune still clocks in at roughly $450 million after the $46.6 billion donation.)
The couple penned a letter to their newborn daughter in which they said that the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative will "join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation."
They went on to say: "Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities."
The new parents posted the letter on both of their Facebook pages. Zuckerberg and Chan, now forevermore known as Daddy and Mommy, went on to say that they would provide more details once they settle into being parents to baby Max. They expect the plan to take shape once they both return from their paternity and maternity leave.
Facebook released a statement saying that Zuckerberg and Chan made the decision to make the significant donation now, rather than later, because they are thinking about the future and want to encourage others to do the same:
"We must make long term investments over 25, 50, or even 100 years. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking," Zuckerberg said.
A filing by Facebook with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, cast a bit of light on how Zuckerberg plans to donate his shares to the new Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. In the filing, it is revealed that the couple plans to donate or sell no more than $1 billion worth of Facebook stock each year for the next three years. The filing also indicated that for the foreseeable future, Mark Zuckerberg intends to retain his majority voting position at the company he founded in his Harvard dorm room.
That is an enormous chunk of money, even for one of the wealthiest people in the world. It is also totally in line with the decision Zuckerberg made to sign the Giving Pledge when he was 26 years old. The pledge requires participants to donate most of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetime. The staggering donation upon the birth of their first child also is in line with Zuckerberg and Chan's history of donating. The couple has already committed $1.6 billion to various charitable causes.
The couple's more recent donations include at 5-year, $120 million commitment to education in underserved Bay Area communities, $100 million gift to the Newark Public School District, $75 million gift to San Francisco General Hospital, which is the "safety net" health care provider for the city, and $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the fight against Ebola.
The proud parents also wrote in their letter to their daughter that they felt "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."
The couple did not announce when their daughter was born. He plans to take two months of paternity leave, to enjoy getting to know his daughter and spend time with his newly expanded family.
Facebook also increased its leave for all new parents. Fathers and same sex couples now have the opportunity to take up to four months off to spend with their partners and new babies.