$45B charity pledge: Mark Zuckerberg Charity

Published: December 2, 2015

$45B charity pledge: Mark Zuckerberg Charity, Wanting to share the news about your new child with the world is understandable. It was no surprise, then, that Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook — his first baby — to announce the birth of his daughter, Max. What was unexpected was that the mogul decided to simultaneously announce Max’s arrival and his new charitable endeavor.

In an open letter to his baby girl — which doubled as a 2,238-word press release, with bolded phrases and separated sections for maximum ease when skimming — Zuckerberg writes that he wants to “join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.”

While parenthood tends to put life in a new perspective — though it’s not all that new; Zuckerberg is no stranger to philanthropy — adjusting to the role is momentous and special enough it doesn’t need to be presented alongside business dealings. It’s doubtful that inspiration struck the new father during a midnight feeding. Chances are that he had this announcement ready to go long before his wife’s due date. Therefore, a moment that is ostensibly raw and personal has an aftertaste of being calculated and orchestrated.

Certainly Zuckerberg isn’t the only celebrity to connect his new child to a charitable cause. The Jolie-Pitt clan famously donated the money they received from the sale of their twins’ first photos and wedding pictures to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation. Other celebrities, including Nicole Richie and the Duchess of Cambridge, encouraged guests to donate to charity in honor of their baby showers rather than giving the expectant mother a present. In those instances, however, the child was the focus of attention and the charity work was a benevolent bonus. Here, we’re not sure which announcement is Zuckerberg’s primary focal point.

The letter also states that Zuckerberg will give 99 percent of his Facebook shares to the new foundation in his lifetime. While that’s admirable, nobody can say what the value of those stocks will be when he’s ready to sell them.

The new parents have noble intentions, and it’s nice to see billionaires willing to back the causes that matter the most to them — in this case, it’s promoting equality and advancing human potential. It’s the execution that falls a bit short. It’ll be interesting to see if a blood drive is part of Max’s first birthday party.

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