Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to donate 99 percent of their Facebook fortune

2 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

China Eases Controls on Corporate Bond Sales as Growth Slows.

SAN FRANCISCO: December 1 Mark Zuckerberg’s pledge on Tuesday to give away most of his Facebook shares, a roughly $45 billion fortune, helps cement his role as one of Silicon Valley’s most generous donors. SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook Co-Founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that he and his wife Dr Priscilla Chan would give 99 per cent of their Facebook shares “during our lives” – holdings currently worth more than $45 billion – to charitable purposes.

The National Development and Reform Commission, which oversees state-backed companies’ bonds, mostly local government financing vehicles’ notes, said AAA rated notes or securities whose issuers have AAA scores could be waived from internal review procedures and get sale approval directly from the regulator, the statement said. The donation could also help bolster the reputation of the technology community, which has faced criticism for driving up rents and exacerbating income inequality in Silicon Valley while valuations of companies there reach stratospheric levels. The elite list includes three men — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, stock market sage Warren Buffet and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison — who are wealthier than Zuckerberg, according to Forbes magazine’s latest rankings.

To do this, they say they will work “to advance human potential and promote equality” around the world through their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which they launched in 2009. “Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” they wrote. “We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission.” Zuckerberg said he will take two months of paternity leave, but Chan has not announced how long her maternity leave will be. Chinese companies have sold a record 6.79 trillion yuan ($1.06 trillion) of notes this year, already 14 percent more than all issuance in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The couple has been open about Chan’s pregnancy from the start, writing a public letter about Chan’s three miscarriages before successfully getting pregnant. Sean Parker, an early Facebook executive and a founder of music-sharing service Napster, has committed $600 million to his foundation, which has goals of improving civic engagement, public health, and life sciences. The announcement stunned the charity world. “It’s incredibly impressive and an enormous commitment that really eclipses anything that we’ve seen in terms of size,” said Phil Buchanan, president of the nonprofit Center for Effective Philanthropy. Helen Walton, the wife of Wal-Mart Stores founder Sam Walton, donated her estimated fortune of $16.4 billion to a family foundation after her death in 2007. By comparison, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of just over $41 billion, which includes wealth donated by the Microsoft founder and his friend, the businessman Warren Buffett.

His co-founder, Larry Page, gave Google stock valued at $177 million last year to a foundation named after his father, Carl Victor Page, that he started in 2006. The new initiative will be organized as a limited liability company, however, rather than as a nonprofit foundation. “They want the most flexibility and they are going to use a wide variety of activities to achieve their mission,” Rachael Horwitz, a Facebook spokeswoman, said via email. “So in that way this is not a foundation nor is it entirely charitable.” The notion of investing money in companies that tackle social issues isn’t new, but it has gained more currency among a younger generation of philanthropists, particularly in the tech world. The year before, Page had landed on Inside Philanthropy’s list of least generous donors. “The foundation seems to give only to donor-advised funds that can sit on the money indefinitely,” the publication wrote at the time.

He led other prominent Silicon Valley figures in forming a group, FWD.us, that lobbied and gave donations to congressional candidates in an unsuccessful effort to promote immigration reforms. Another tech titan with a sizable philanthropic streak is investor Yuri Milner, who bankrolls the annual Breakthrough Prizes, which awards $3 million each to scientists.

Depending on how much of the new effort is devoted to lobbying, it could raise new questions about the influence of money in today’s politics, some experts said. Of his job at the social network, he added, “I’m going to be doing this for long time.” The Facebook co-founder is one of the world’s wealthiest men.

He and Chan, a 30-year-old pediatrician, have previously donated $100 million to public schools in Newark, New Jersey, and pledged $120 million to schools in poor communities of the San Francisco Bay Area. In a statement, Facebook said the couple’s plan to transfer their shares over time won’t affect his status as controlling shareholder of the company.

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