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December 14, 2015

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Chief Outlines Big-Bet Strategy

The chief of staff of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative talks to TechCrunch about the long-term strategy behind Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's $45 billion philanthropic project, which the tech-news site says will mirror Facebook's approach to big-dollar acquisitions in pursuing pioneering solutions to social problems.

Caitlyn Fox said the Facebook CEO and his wife "are willing to embrace risk and invest in things that may take 10, 20, 50 years to show really concrete results" and will utilize the flexibility afforded by the effort's structure as a limited-liability company in determining how to tackle poverty, health, education, and other issues. She said the couple will not micromanage the initiative's grants and investments.

"A big pillar of their philosophy in general is enabling leaders in each of these areas. … It's more about finding the people that they trust to then help them make those decisions," said Ms. Fox, a management consultant who also worked at the Rockefeller Foundation as a strategic planner. Facebook has taken a similar tack in buying tech companies like Instagram and WhatsApp, TechCrunch writes, leaving their leaders in place to operate more or less autonomously.

Read Chornicle of Philanthropy opinion columns assessing the promise and peril of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.