Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have welcomed their first child – a baby girl called Max – and have used her arrival to announce plans to give away most of their $45 billion fortune.
The Silicon Valley billionaire and his doctor wife shared the news of the baby’s birth in a Facebook post entitled, ‘A letter to our daughter’.
In the post, the couple pledge to donate the vast majority of their fortune to future generations. They will donate 99% of their Facebook shares – currently valued at $45 billion – to the work of a new charitable foundation, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
That would leave them with $450 million for themselves and their new child – based on Facebook’s current valuation, plus any other private wealth held by the couple.
The letter was accompanied with a picture of the proud new parents tenderly holding their newborn wrapped in an Aden And Anais swaddle cloth with designs of cartoon caterpillars on it. The designer blankets are sold in $50 four-packs.
The 2234 worded post reads: “Dear Max, your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future. Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.”
“Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today,” the letter says.
“While headlines often focus on what’s wrong, in many ways the world is getting better. Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today.”
“We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”
“We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today. Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here.”
The couple announced Priscilla’s pregnancy on Facebook earlier this year and revealed their long and hard struggle with fertility issues and several miscarriages.
About the new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the post reads: “As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
“We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”
“We’ll share more details in the coming months once we settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves. We understand you’ll have many questions about why and how we’re doing this.”
The couple who married in 2012 at Zuckerberg’s backyard first met at a party in Harvard in Zuckerberg’s sophomore year and began dating in 2003.
The CEO of Facebook has announced that he will take two months of paternity leave following Max’s birth and has also revealed plans of a new initiative to give other Facebook fathers four months of paternity leave on full pay.
The couple’s latest pledge puts them on the list of America’s most generous philanthropists alongside the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates.