Facebook chief pledges $500m to charity

2012-12-19 09:51

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San Francisco – Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he is donating nearly $500 million (R4.3 billion) in stock to a Silicon Valley charity with the aim of funding health and education issues.

Zuckerberg donated 18 million Facebook shares, valued at $498.8 million based on their closing price yesterday.

The beneficiary is the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works with donors to allocate their gifts.

This is his largest donation to date.

He pledged $100 million in Facebook stock to Newark, New Jersey, public schools in 2010, before his company went public earlier this year.

Later in 2010, he joined Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft Corporation founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated chief executive Warren Buffett, to get the nation’s richest people to donate most of their wealth. His wife, Priscilla Chan, joined with him.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Zuckerberg (28) said he is “proud of the work” done by the foundation that his Newark donation launched, called Startup: Education, which has helped open charter schools, high schools and others.

With the latest contribution, he added: “We will look for areas in education and health to focus on next.”

He did not give further details on what plans there may be for funds.

“Mark’s generous gift will change lives and inspire others in Silicon Valley and around the globe to give back and make the world a better place,” said Emmett Carson, chief executive of the foundation.

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