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Mark Zuckerberg’s Big Gift to Daughter: A Better World


New parents Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have some big news for their wee daughter Max: they’re going to make the world she grows up in a better place. And no, it’s not with a nursery covered in Pinterest projects. In a lengthy letter posted, naturally, to Facebook, Zuckerberg explained in detail how they’re planning to make this happen.

Zuckerberg family

(Photo Credit: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook)

Dr. Chan and Mr. Zuckerberg made headlines even before their daughter, Max, was born, thanks to Zuckerberg’s decision to take two months’ paternity leave from Facebook to be at home with his first-born and wife.

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But in yesterday’s letter, he also laid out a lengthy plan that will hopefully make Max’s future even brighter. In it, he outlines plans for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which has two goals: advancing human potential and promoting equality. (You know, the basics.)

Zuckerberg wrote: “Advancing human potential is about pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be. Promoting equality is about making sure everyone has access to these opportunities — regardless of the nation, families or circumstances they are born into.”

To achieve these lofty goals, Zuckerberg is willing to put his money where his mouth is. He and his wife will give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares over the course of their lifetime to groups working to advance their mission. That’s quite a gift as that amount of stock is currently valued at $45 billion.

Areas where they hope to advance human potential include:

  • Internet access
  • Personalized learning tools
  • Promoting healthy childhoods
  • Curing diseases

And you thought your life goals were big!

Fellow philanthropist Melinda Gates posted in reply to the letter:

Welcome to the world, Max! ?Bill Gates and I 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,


Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (author of Lean In) posted:

This is a beautiful letter and an incredible commitment to future generations. Congratulations ?Mark and ?Priscilla – this is the start of another amazing chapter in your lives.

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