Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan celebrated the birth of their daughter by pledging to give 99 percent of their wealth — $45 billion or so — to worthy causes, such as “advancing human potential and promoting equality.” They’ll make do with the remaining $450 million.
They’ve come in for a lot of criticism and kibbitzing.
Some want to tell them how to spend the money: Don’t try to change things like Bill Gates!
Anil Dash advises funding “people and institutions that are already doing this work (including, yes, public institutions funded by tax dollars) and trust that they know their domains better than someone who’s already got a pretty demanding day job.”
Others accuse the couple of trying to dodge taxes. (Giving away 99 percent of your money is not a great way to save money.)
“This enables us to pursue our mission by funding non-profit organizations, making private investments and participating in policy debates.”
. . . “If we transferred our shares to a traditional foundation, then we would have received an immediate tax benefit, but by using an LLC we do not. And just like everyone else, we will pay capital gains taxes when our shares are sold by the LLC.”
The Initiative will focus on “personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities,” he wrote.
“Our education work has been funded through a non-profit organization, Startup: Education, the recently announced Breakthrough Energy Coalition will make private investments in clean energy, and we also fund public government efforts, like the CDC Ebola response and San Francisco General Hospital.”
The money will be wasted, predicts Gawker’s Sam Biddle. He sneers at Facebook’s support for Summit’s personalized learning platform — with no understanding of what it is.
The Washington Post describes the couple’s plans to provide private schooling and health care for low-income families in a heavily minority community, East Palo Alto.