Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan welcomed a baby girl, Maxima, last week. In honor of her birth, they announced a major initiative to give away 99 percent of their shares in Facebook to charitable organizations over their lifetimes. Zuckerberg is currently valued at approximately $45 billion, and stands at number 7 on Forbes' 400 list, but he and his wife are planning to trade in that fortune to make the world a better place. The donations will make a huge dent in their wealth, but Zuckerberg and Chan won't be struggling financially. Assuming current valuation, if they gave all the money away right now, they would still be worth about $450 million.
The donation was announced in an open letter to Chan and Zuckerberg's new bundle of joy, which detailed their hopes for her future and the children of her generation. "Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world 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." Their foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, will be in charge of directing their donations and achieving the goals outlined in the letter.
Zuckerberg and Chan aren't new to philanthropy. Chan worked as an elementary school teacher after graduating from Harvard, and serves impoverished communities as a pediatrician. Zuckerberg famously announced a $100 million donation to the Newark, New Jersey public school system during an appearance on Oprah in 2010. In October 2015, they announced the creation of The Primary School, a free charter school for underprivileged children that features an on-site health clinic, combining education and healthcare. Inspired by other alternative schooling programs, like the AltSchool in San Francisco, The Primary School is expected to open next year.
Obviously, money is not one of their primary concerns. In 2013, he dropped his annual salary to $1, joining the CEOs of Tesla, HP, and Google. His reasoning: "I've made enough money." So really, it's no surprise that this massive donation was in the works. All Zuckerberg and Chan needed was Baby Max to inspire them.
Currently, Zuckerberg's proposed donation stands at more than $44 billion over his lifetime, but there is a chance that the shares will be worth significantly more in coming years. Since Facebook's IPO in May 2012, when the company started trading at $38 per share, prices have nearly tripled — they hit a high last month, trading at $109 each. If Facebook continues the upward trend, the valuation of the shares could mean even more money for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Chan-Zuckerberg family.