Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr Priscilla Chan announced the birth of their daughter Max (Maxima Chan Zuckerberg) today. The new parents with a combined net worth of 49.7 Billion USD also announced the launch of their new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an organization investing in among other causes: Education, curing disease, clean energy, cultivating entrepreneurship, and participation in policy and advocacy.
“Advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research, and energy.”
In a manifesto which took the form of a devoted letter to their daughter, Zuckerberg outlined his and his wife’s commitment: “Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality.”
Zuckerberg and Chan are pledging 99% of their Facebook shares to the initiative, currently worth $45 billion.
The couple pledge to use their experience connecting communities using Internet access, as a means to create further growth in personalised and community education and tackling the biggest health issues we currently face. On the matter of health Zuckerberg explains that people are dying predominately from heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s) and infectious disease. He and Chan claim that by pouring more money into research into these areas, long-term lasting difference will be achieved. However they make clear that these solutions may be achieved in future generations rather than in their own, potentially 50 or even 100 years. They urge, “The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking”.
The statement describes how they plan to deliver their aims, giving people a taste of the capacity of the technology and influence the Facebook CEO has at his disposal.
Statements of support of the initiative, approval and well wishes have come thick and fast from high profile contributors with 13 providing a public statement in the Initiative’s press release. Heavy-weights from global health organisations, large private corporations and entertainment figures have been put forward. Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Bono and Michael R. Bloomberg are among the pledged supporters.
While they take time out to get to know their new baby girl, the world waits for the next installation with hope of a new and better future.
“Mark and Priscilla are breaking the mold with this breathtaking commitment. A combination of brains, passion and resources on this scale will change the lives of millions. On behalf of future generations, I thank them.”
Bill & Melinda Gates:
“Welcome to the world, Max! We can’t wait to meet you. You are lucky to have such an amazing mom and dad.
Mark and Priscilla: Congratulations—we’re thrilled for both of you! Raising children is a great adventure and the best thing we have ever done together. You will be fantastic parents.
As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow. The example you’re setting today is an inspiration to us and the world.
We can be confident of this: Max and every child born today will grow up in a world that is better than the one we know now. As you say, “seeds planted now will grow.” Your work will bear fruit for many decades to come.
With love and admiration, Bill and Melinda”