News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg: $45 Billion to Change the World


Mark Zuckerberg, 31
Co-founder, Facebook
Palo Alto, Calif.

Priscilla Chan, 30
Palo Alto, Calif.

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg rocked philanthropy last month when they announced they plan to devote 99 percent of their shares in Facebook — currently worth $45 billion — to "improving this world for the next generation."

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At the beginning, they will focus on personalized learning, curing diseases, connecting people, and building strong communities. But the couple signaled they intend to take a next-generation approach by setting up a limited-liability company, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to oversee their giving.

The structure gives Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Chan the flexibility to lobby and invest in for-profit companies and government efforts, as well as make gifts to charities.

Creating the LLC raised eyebrows, as critics voiced concerns about transparency. But it’s safe to say that charities — and other donors — are watching with rapt attention to see what they do next.

Send an email to Nicole Wallace.