In a Facebook post addressed to his recently born first child, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg subtly made two major announcements. One, his wife Priscilla gave birth to a baby girl named Max (short for Maxima). Two, Mark and Priscilla will give away 99-percent of their Facebook shares within their lifetimes.
The money will go to the newly founded Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (It sounds kind of like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation except not so old and also not a foundation.) Zuck writes in a letter to his daughter Max:
We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.
That’s a lot of money. It’s unclear how much the parents are putting away for their children’s inheritance. Regardless, it’s a joyous occasion for the family, and for the world, which is now 99-percent of Zuckerberg’s Facebook shares richer.
Update (5:00pm): An SEC filing released not long after Zuckerberg’s post went live reveals a bit more about this whole giving-away-of-Facebook-shares business. It looks like Zuckerberg will give away the shares in a trickle and maintains the right to sell them instead of gift them. The filing reads:
For this purpose, Mr. Zuckerberg has established a new entity, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC, and he will control the voting and disposition of any shares held by such entity. He has informed us that he plans to sell or gift no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years and that he intends to retain his majority voting position in our stock for the foreseeable future. Any sale of shares by Mr. Zuckerberg will be conducted pursuant to a trading plan established pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).
Re/Code’s Kurt Wagner explains this is a familiar tactic amongst Silicon Valley royalty: “Zuckerberg is creating a charitable trust that’s entirely under his control, a common move among billionaires.”
And in case you’re wondering, Zuckerberg has no plans of relinquishing his position as controlling stockholder of Facebook in the foreseeable future.
Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to Zuckerberg’s new organization as a “Foundation.” A representative of the organization contacted us to point out that it is not a foundation. It’s an “Initiative,” whatever that means.
Image via Mark Zuckerberg