I didn't know it was possible to steal the thunder of your own baby's birth, but Mark Zuckerberg went above and beyond in showing up the newly born Max Zuckerberg (whose full name is Maxima, and who is rocking a traditionally male nickname) on Tuesday. In announcing his daughter's birth to Facebook users through a heartwarming letter penned to Max, Zuckerberg also shared details of his plan to give away 99 percent of his stock in the company to philanthropic causes, including global health and education. But to what, specifically, will Zuckerberg donate his wealth? The Facebook founder and billionaire is going all Bill Gates on us, starting his very own initiative.
The charity organization is not all Zuckerberg's — he's partnering with his wife Priscilla Chan on this one. The official name is the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. And the couple plans to tackle a whole slew of global issues with the donated funds. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan outlined two major objectives for the initiative: advancing human potential and promoting equality. They went on to explain that, initially, they want to focus on issues such as curing disease, personalized learning, and building strong communities. Way to choose going big over going home, guys.
That 99 percent of Zuckerberg's stock is no small amount, though, so why not dream big? The new parents wrote in the letter that those shares currently amount to about $45 billion. Those billions of dollars will be used to target issues that Zuckerberg and Chan see as connected, from child health to Internet access to problems confronting vulnerable groups like the LGBT community. And the duo has no shortage of potential partners lined up: governments, nonprofits, companies, schools, health centers, and parent groups are all listed in the letter as necessary collaborators.
This doesn't mean that Zuckerberg is immediately giving away the voting rights and senior status that comes with owning the majority of Facebook stock. A securities filing for the social media company states that Zuckerberg planned to "sell or gift no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years."
That Zuckerberg would announce his intention to donate his wealth to charitable causes shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. The Facebook CEO and Chan signed the Giving Pledge, which invites billionaires to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy, in early November. Really, though, Bill and Melinda Gates must feel like they just passed the charity torch.
Though Zuckerberg and Chan described at length their hopes and dreams for the kind of future in which Max will grow up, details on how the initiative is exactly going to successfully tackle these issues were sparse. But if there was ever a good excuse for getting back to the global population on how one plans to use their wealth to save the newest generation's future at a later date, it's probably having a baby. The new mom and dad explained in the letter:
We'll share more details in the coming months once we settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves. We understand you'll have many questions about why and how we're doing this.
Yes, Mark and Priscilla. So many questions! Between learning how to change diapers and avoiding spit-up on all your clothing, please remember to give us the lowdown on your strategy for making our world a better place.