Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t release news onto the cycle. He jumps on it with both feet, making moves that demand headlines across the globe. Fittingly, given his status as the co-founder of a social site that pretty much controls the news cycle.
According to myriad reports, Zuckerberg is establishing a foundation and funding it with up to 99 percent of his Facebook stock. That’s $45 billion (with a B) for those scoring at home.
The Chan-Zuckerberg initiative (founded with his wife, Priscilla Chan) will focus on improving the world for the next generation. A worthy cause, Zuckerberg and Chan now have a vested interest in, after the birth of their first child, a daughter named Max.
“We have a basic moral responsibility to tilt our investment,” Zuckerberg said.
Chan followed that statement with a video posted on Facebook (naturally) that said their latest philanthropic effort was directly inspired by the birth of her daughter.
While the Zuckerbergs have been generous in the past, this move signals an even deeper sea change. It began in the summer when Mark started being more open about his personal life on the social platform he co-founded. He talked of Priscilla’s pregnancy, and of the couple’s struggles with pregnancy and previous miscarriages.
This more personal, more altruistic, and thoughtful Zuckerberg could prove to be a major boon to the world. More than 1.5 billion people have Facebook accounts – that’s half the world’s online population. These people use the service at least once a month. More than 42 million people directly follow Zuckerberg’s page.
So, when Zuckerberg talks about “equality” and “human potential” then he puts billions behind that initiative, it’s time to sit up and pay attention. No real news yet on how this effort will work toward those goals, but one thing is certain – its message will be heard.
Roman Temkin is a real estate developer and an entrepreneur.