In an effort to solve some of the world's most pressing problems, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife


In an effort to solve some of the world's most pressing problems, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan created a philanthropic organization to pledge 99% of their shares in Facebook. The announcement came in the form of a letter to their then- newborn daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg. One of the largest in philanthropic history, the pledge, to be distributed over Zuckerberg's lifetime, could increase in value if Facebook shares continue to climb.

Unlike other philanthropists who pledge funds more closely aligned with a cause or issue, to date the initiative is not earmarked for any one particular organization, cause, or philanthropic organization.

Because it is set up as a limited liability company or LLC, the structure gives Zuckerberg and Chan leeway to make investments of many kinds—from funding nonprofits or private investments to taking a public stand on policy issues. This also includes the ability to invest in for-profit ventures as joint ventures. Any profits from the investments will be used to fund additional work and initiatives, and under this structure the couple can disburse any profits from the LLC as they wish.

A professor who advises philanthropists agrees that the LLC structure of the initiative is gaining momentum in the world of philanthropy—and effectively creates a synergy between the nonprofit and the for-profit world to solve complex problems. The LLC structure also has fewer rules than the traditional approach of setting up a nonprofit foundation.

Tech donors like Zuckerberg and his wife represent 49% of the more than $10 billion in donations made in a recent year. The Chan Zuckerberg initiative is one example of a growing number of Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs who find giving back, spreading wealth, and solving problems an imperative.

Questions for Critical Thinking

1. Others like Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) have pledged to give away their fortunes. Some call this the spirit of the times. Do you agree? Why or why not?

2. Is it reasonable to assume that the ability to solve societal problems corresponds with one's wealth? As billionaires tackle some of society's toughest problems, what are some of the downsides?

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Contemporary Business

ISBN: 9781119498414

18th Edition

Authors: Louis E. Boone, David L. Kurtz, Susan Berston

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