Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today he will donate nearly $500 million in Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to improving access to education and health through grants for local projects and causes.
Based on the closing price for Facebook stock today, the gift of 18 million Facebook shares is worth about $498.8 million based on their closing stock price today.
In a post to his Facebook Page, Zuckerberg explained his donation.
“Two years ago, Priscilla and I signed The Giving Pledge, committing to donate the majority of the money we earn to charity,” wrote Zuckerberg, referring to the effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to get the country’s richest people to donate most of their wealth to charity. “Our first major project has been around education reform with Startup: Education in Newark, NJ. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done there, helping leaders like Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Cory Booker sign the most progressive teachers contract in our country, opening four new district high schools, 11 new charter schools and more.
“Today, in order to lay the foundation for new projects, we’ve made a contribution of 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Together, we will look for areas in education and health to focus on next. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to have as positive an impact in our next set of projects.”
“Mark’s generous gift will change lives and inspire others in Silicon Valley and around the globe to give back and make the world a better place,” said Emmett D. Carson, CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “We are pleased and honored that he has chosen to continue to partner with us to help him achieve his philanthropic goals.”
Observers said the donation was Zuckerberg’s largest charitable donation to date.