Mark Zuckerberg’s promise to give 99 percent of his and his wife’s Facebook shares to a new charity makes him one of a growing number of billionaire philanthropists. As David Pollard reports, his actions could make his business more popular but not everyone welcomes the trend.
(REUTERS / FACEBOOK HANDOUT) – She’s called Max.
Though that’s not, in fact, because of the sheer size of her parents’ giveaway.
45 billion dollars of Facebook shares at current value – 99 per cent of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s holding – to be put into a new charitable project.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – his wife is Priscilla Chan – will focus on issues from disease to internet connectivity.
John Kobara of the California Community Foundation.
JOHN KOBARA, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF THE CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION,
“Mark Zuckerberg giving his wealth is going to trigger a lot of thinking around the world … He’s been giving away a lot of money so far up to this point. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have set standards as well. And so, it may generate more giving.”
The pledge came in a letter to their new daughter on – where else – Zuckerberg’s Facebook page.
350,000 people ‘like’ it.
Zuckerberg is, though, thought likely to retain control of Facebook for some time through a stock of supervoting shares.
In the longer-term, a founder with a decreasing minority stake – that’s not always a good thing, say some observers.
But in the short term, business could benefit, if indirectly.
Admiral Markets Darren Sinden.
DARREN SINDEN, MARKET RESEARCH AND CLIENT RELATIONS MANAGER, ADMIRAL MARKETS,
“It makes it more touchy-feely, I suppose. And perhaps gives it a bigger place in people’s hearts, if I can put it like that, which should only reinforce the brand and its position in the media market.”
For others, it’s a return to 19th century philantropy – criticised as an excuse for governments to cut back on vital social safety nets.
A growing divide between haves and have nots meaning only the super rich can afford to buy a future they’d like to see.