They are forming a new organization, called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that will pursue those goals through a combination of charitable donations, private investment and promotion of government-policy reform.
"Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today," the 31-year-old social media mogul and his wife wrote in a letter to their daughter, which they also posted on Facebook.
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.
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.
Things sometimes spread like wildfire on Facebook. Sure, that latest cat video is cute, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
Yet another misinformation “copy and paste” message is working the rounds. This one is simply titled “Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg!” and claims by pasting the message in your status that you could get “piece of the pie”. And by pie, they mean the roughly $45 billion of Facebook stock that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife said they will be donating to charity following the birth announcement of their daughter, Max.
Yes, Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla Chan, gave birth to a 7-pound, 8-ounce daughter at the end of November, but posted about it Dec. 1. In the same post, Zuckerberg said he and Chan will, over time, commit 99 percent of their Facebook stockholdings to such causes as fighting disease, improving education and "building strong communities." The couple had previously pledged to give away at least half their assets during their lifetime, but hadn't provided specifics.
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 new charity has not announced any plans to give away the money to people who post this to their status:
THANK YOU, MARK ZUCKERBERG, for your forward-thinking generosity! And congrats on becoming a dad!
Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is giving away $45 billion of Facebook stock. What you may not have heard is that he plans to give 10% of it away to people like YOU and ME! All you have to do is copy and paste this message into a post IMMEDIATELY and tag 5-10 of your friends. At midnight PST, Facebook will search through the day's posts and award 1000 people with $4.5 million EACH as a way of saying thank you for making Facebook such a powerful vehicle for connection and philanthropy.
I hope someone I know gets a piece of the pie--let me know if you do!!!
Facebook said they have about 1.55 billion active users as of last quarter. Their stock closed Tuesday at $106.49.
The Associated Press contributed to this report