By Duke Staff
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, declared on Tuesday that he would be giving away 99 percent of his shares of the company for charitable purposes. The total, which he says will be donated in segments throughout his life, is estimated at $45 billion.
Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, announced this in an open letter to their daughter Max, who was born last week. The couple plans to manage the money through their new organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. According to the letter, Zuckerberg will focus on using the money for personalized education, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.
At only 31 years old, it’s admirable to see a powerful young person giving back to the community in such a meaningful way. However, not everyone is thrilled with Zuckerberg’s decision to make a hefty donation.
According to The New York Times, most of the concerns come from his inexperience. While he and his wife have pledged the money to charity, they have not yet stated any specific causes or groups they want the money to go to, nor have they clarified what the exact time frame is for the money to be donated.
Others are outraged merely because they dislike the way that Zuckerberg earned his fortune. One week after Facebook launched in 2004, Zuckerberg was accused of stealing the idea from three Harvard students, who later filed a lawsuit accusing him of theft and fraud.
It’s incredibly disappointing that a person who chooses to make such an impactful donation, one that can really change lives for the better, is berated and reprimanded nonetheless.
But Zuckerberg isn’t the only person in history to face such negative feelings. There were people who despised Andrew Carnegie, who amassed his fortune in the steel industry around the turn of the 20th century, for overworking and underpaying employees. However, he also donated hundreds of millions of dollars to build local libraries, colleges and fund scientific research. Without Andrew Carnegie’s presence, Pittsburgh, steeped in rich steel history, would not be the city it is today.
By pledging this kind of money, Zuckerberg is following the incredibly wealthy business titans who have come before him. He cites Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and worth $85.2 billion, who vowed to give away 95 percent of his wealth, and Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire ,Hathaway who plans on donating his entire fortune of over $30 billion to charity, as his inspiration.
Regardless of what people think or say, Zuckerberg’s donation has the power to make a serious difference in the world.