Zuckerberg And Wife Pen Open Letter To Newborn Daughter, Pledge 99 Percent Of Their Facebook Stock To Philanthropy

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan plan to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares currently worth around $45 billion to charitable causes during their lifetime. The couple unveiled the plan in an open letter to their newborn daughter, Max, with a promise to offer more details after they return from paternity and maternity leave.

By committing to donate their massive fortune, the Zuckerbergs join a small but growing list of billionaires who have pledged to leave their assets and wealth to philanthropic causes. That includes Bill Gates, who along with his wife Melinda started The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Warren Buffet, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.


The Zuckerbergs laid out several goals in their open letter, one of them being the familiar refrain to bring Internet access to the world's population. That's been an ongoing and passionate effort of Zuckerberg's, and in the letter, the couple point to Internet access as the foundation for their other goals.

"Many of the greatest opportunities for your generation will come from giving everyone access to the Internet. People often think of the Internet as just entertainment or communication. But for the majority of people in the world, the Internet can be a lifeline," the Zuckerbergs wrote.

According to the Zuckerbergs, for every 10 people who gain Internet access, one person is lifted out of poverty and one new job is created. Nevertheless, around half of the world's population, or more than 4 billion people, still don't have Internet access.

"If our generation connects them, we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. We can also help hundreds of millions of children get an education and save millions of lives by helping people avoid disease," the Zuckerbergs added.

It's a rather long letter that's big on goals but short on details. The couple plan to reveal more in the coming months. In the meantime, it's known through a separate filing (PDF) that Zuckerberg will limit his donations to no more than $1 billion per year for the next three years, and that he intends to hold onto his majority voting position "for the foreseeable future."