Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday announced he is a dad and pledged to give away his fortune to make the world a “better place” for baby daughter Max and others.
In a letter to Max posted on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan said they were going to give away 99 percent of their company shares — estimated value $45 billion — during their lives in an effort to make a happy and healthy world.
“Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children. We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world,” the letter said.
Zuckerberg will “gift or otherwise direct” nearly all his shares of Facebook stock, or the after-tax proceeds of sales of shares, to further a mission of “advancing human potential and promoting equality” by means of activities for the public good, the California-based social network said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Zuckerberg “intends to retain his majority voting position in our stock for the foreseeable future,” Facebook said in the SEC filing.
“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,” the Facebook chief and his wife said.
“Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
Zuckerberg is currently the 7th richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
Zuckerberg’s announcement coincided with that of Brazilian Jewish billionaire Elie Horn, who has committed to giving away 60 percent of his fortune to charity.
Horn, a real estate magnate, and his wife, Susy, are the first Brazilians to join the Giving Pledge, an effort started in 2010 by philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage more of the world’s affluent to give away at least half of their wealth to charitable causes.
The donation was announced Tuesday in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.
Horn, founder of the home builder Cyrela, is an Orthodox Jew and a low-profile businessman whose name has been on the list of Forbes billionaires since 2006. His fortune is estimated at $1.3 billion.
In his letter signing on to the Giving Pledge, Horn said he was inspired by the example of his father, who donated his entire fortune to tzedakah. He said secular and religious education will be the priorities of his giving.
“As human beings, we will carry nothing with us to the other world — the only things we shall take are the good deeds that we accomplish in this world,” Horn told the audience at the recent Brazilian Philanthropists Forum edition in Sao Paulo. “Doing what’s good is a great investment. That’s so obvious, I don’t understand how people can’t get it.”
Born in Aleppo, Syria, Horn arrived in Brazil when he was 11. He reportedly works 16 hours a day but respects Shabbat — Cyrela does not close any deals from Friday afternoon through Saturday evening.
Horn founded Cyrela Brazil Realty in 1978 and built it into the largest publicly traded developer of high-end residential buildings in Brazil, with activities across South America.