Chan Zuckerberg Initiative means to help future generations
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and his wife, Pricilla Chan, have decided to donate 99 per cent of their Facebook shares—around $45 billion—to a new organization of their founding called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative aims to create a better world for future generations by investing in projects that promote universal equality, as well as human advancement. In regard to equality, the initiative strives to end poverty, empower minorities and women, and increase access to basic social services such as healthcare and education. The initiative also aims to increase the number of advancements in medicine, create a world where all people are connected by ensuring Internet access to all, utilize clean energy globally, and improve common knowledge to include entrepreneurship.
Zuckerberg wrote in a document describing the initiative, which was formulated as a letter to their infant daughter, Max: “Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges. I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives.”
Although many are praising Zuckerberg and Chan for the donation, some have been critical of the sudden act of kindness.
“It’s another company,” said Linsey McGoey, a sociologist who writes on philanthropy, to CBC. “It’s an investment vehicle. It will in some respects be subjected to tax if it earns revenue, but it will be able to off-set those tax liabilities through deducting any possible charitable grants that it makes from the L.L.C. But it’s actually under no obligation to make any grants to a non-profit or a charitable recipient at all because it’s an L.L.C (limited liability corporation).”
Yet others have come to defend and show optimism towards the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Gene Takagi, an attorney that specializes in working with non-profit organizations, told CBC: “Those funds are forever dedicated to charitable purposes and, from a public perspective, that’s much more trustworthy.”
Zuckerberg will now join the ranks of billionaires known to engage in philanthropic endeavours. Zuckerberg and Chan are included amongst several of the world’s wealthiest who have commit themselves to the Giving Pledge—a pledge that involves most of their fortune. The Giving Pledge was founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, who also founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to lift people out of poverty through an improved education.