Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg made two big announcements on Tuesday. One, he showed the first photo of himself with his wife and newborn daughter Max; and two, he expressed plans to dedicate 99 percent of his personal Facebook shares for the benefit of helping global initiatives and non-government organizations.
Taking into account Zuckerberg’s Facebook shares, his total donation would be an estimated $45 billion. Fellow billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg lauded his generosity. Others, though, have called Zuckerberg “narcissistic.”
Zuckerberg addressed any doubts and questions people have toward his generosity.
“Our initial focus areas are personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities. We’ve already made many investments over the past five years in these areas education, science, health, internet access and inclusion and you can see a summary of our investments on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative page timeline,” Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page.
His net worth will be transferred to a new organization called Chan Zuckerberg LLC. This has also raised the question that he was avoiding taxes.
By using an LLC, Zuckerberg will get no tax benefit, but has the flexibility to execute his mission effectively.
“In fact, 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,” Zuckerberg added.
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg’s donations have been questioned. His $100 million pledge to Newark schools in 2010 ran into problems. The funds were reportedly mismanaged and an estimated $20 million was paid to “consultants.”
Zuckerberg is part of The Giving Pledge with fellow billionaires Warren Buffet, Richard Branson and Gates. They promise to give away half their fortunes.
Recently, Zuckerberg also joined Gates in their mission to help solve global climate change.