By Ed Diokno
All you parents out there, you already know this: having children changes you. It changes your outlook on life. It changes your perspective and priorities.
Maxima (Max) Chan Zuckerberg – 7 lbs, 8 oz. – was born Thanksgiving week to the Facebook founder and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan. Still basking in the afterglow of a newborn, they welcomed Max into the world by starting a new charity.
In a moving letter to their daughter on (what else?) Facebook, Mark and Priscilla (Chan) Zuckerberg have pledged to give 99 percent of their Facebook holdings – to making this world a better place for their daughter – and children everywhere – through the use of technology and improvement of health outcomes.
In today’s worth, that would be about $45 billion, but that amount will likely grow as Facebook continues to gain in value.
“Your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future,” the letter begins. “Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.
“Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.
“We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today,” they wrote. “Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here.”
“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” they pledged to their week-old daughter. “Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
Their public promise already has drawn some noteworthy attention:
The first couple of Facebook has already started giving away some of their wealth. Five years ago they signed onto the Giving Pledge launched by Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft. Those who committed to the pledge, including some of the world’s richest individuals and families, promise to give away most of their wealth to charities.
The Zuckerbergs recently donated to San Francisco General Hospital $75 million, the largest single contribution to a public hospital in the United States. It will go towards a nine storey hospital and trauma center; and they are footing the bill for a new charter school located in East Palo Alto, one of the poorest communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog : Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)