Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have announced that they will commit 99 percent of their Facebook shares while they are alive to efforts aimed at advancing human potential and promoting equality.
In a letter addressed to their newborn daughter, Max, that was posted on Facebook, Zuckerberg and Chan outlined their hopes for her generation — maximizing human potential in areas such as health, education, scientific research, and energy; and ensuring access to such opportunities for all, regardless of nation, family, or circumstances of birth. "As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities," the couple wrote. "We will give 99 percent of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission."
To advance the mission of advancing human potential and promoting equality, the initiative "must make long-term investments over twenty-five, fifty, or even a hundred years," "engage directly with the people we serve," build technology to make change," "participate in policy and advocacy," "back the strongest and most independent leaders in each field," and "take risks today to learn lessons for tomorrow," Chan and Zuckerberg wrote.
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Zuckerberg intends to contribute the funds to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative but "plans to sell or gift no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years." In a statement, Facebook said the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be formed as a limited liability company controlled by Zuckerberg and Chan and will fund nonprofit organizations, make private investments, and participate in policy debates. Any profits from investments in other companies will be used to fund additional work to advance the initiative's mission. Zuckerberg will retain his status as a controlling stockholder of Facebook for the foreseeable future and will continue to control his shares through his control of the initiative.
More details will be forthcoming in the coming months, Chan and Zuckerberg wrote in their letter, after they have returned from their maternity and paternity leaves.