Mark Zuckerberg plans to give away 99 percent of Facebook Inc (FB.O) shares for about $45 billion worth into a new philanthropy project focusing on human potential and equality, it was announced.
He will remain in charge of the world’s largest online social network while giving up $1 billion in shares in each of the next three years.
Zuckerberg will jointly control the new initiative with his wife, Priscilla Chan. His new project, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, is not his first project in the world of philanthropy. By the age of 26, he had signed the Giving Pledge, which invites the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes over their lifetime or in their will.
According to the announcement, Zuckerberg said he plans to remain CEO of Facebook for many, many years to come.
Zuckerberg will keep a controlling stake in Facebook, valued at $303 billion as of Tuesday’s close, for what the company called the “foreseeable future.” According to Facebook’s most recent proxy statement, Zuckerberg owned 4 million Class A shares and 422.3 million Class B shares, which have 10 times the voting power of A shares. Combined he held 54 percent of the voting power of the company’s shares.
The plan, which was posted on the Facebook founder and chief executive officer’s page, attracted more than half million likes, including famous singer Shakira, former California Governor, Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The Gates and other high-profile billionaires such as Warren Buffett have set up foundations of their own to dedicate their massive fortunes to philanthropic endeavors.