A generous year for Mark Zuckerberg

On Tuesday, December 1, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan published a letter addressed to their newborn daughter Max. In this letter, the couple commits to doing their part to ensure the lives of young children and future generations advance their potential as human beings. The Bay Area couple stated 99% of their Facebook shares would go to philanthropic causes, the equivalent of around 45 billion dollars.

Monday November 30th, the previous day, a group of twenty-five investors announced on the week leading to the COP21 discussions in Paris, a joint program to invest in early-stage companies in renewable energy, transportation and agriculture industries. Zuckerberg again, was part of this climate-change fighting group of investors called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Earlier that month, Chan and Zuckerberg joined the Giving Pledge, a global campaign started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to encourage the world’s top billionaires to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

“We believe that in the next generation, all of our children should grow up living even better lives and striving for even more than we think is possible today.”
— Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. Nov. 9, 2015. Giving Pledge Commitment Letter.

What would 45 billion dollars buy you? We did some estimates (see infographic below). 26 million children living in poverty in Mexico could be fed for three years. 75 billion trees could be planted. Or, 6.4 million water wells could be deployed in Africa.

At a time when wealth inequality levels are higher than ever, Oxfam, has called urged world leaders to end extreme wealth by 2025. At the same time, the world has committed to ending extreme poverty by 2030. Promoting that the world’s billionaires invest their assets on the welfare of the world’s majority can only help reduce poverty even faster. We applaud the Zuckerberg family for doing their role in sharing their time and resources for various causes benefiting millions of adults and children.

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