Mark Zuckerberg pledges most of his $6.9 billion fortune to charity

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 3: Facebook social network founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a press conference at Facebook headquarters on November 3, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced a new mobile Facebook platform that will unify it's mobile site but anxious rumors of a Facebook phone were not confirmed. (Photo by Kim White/Getty Images)

Back in the early 2000s, Bill Gates decided that if he was going to do some charity work and give away some of his money, he was going to go balls-out with it. He pledged the bulk of his wealth to the charity that he and his wife had founded, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and steadily throughout the years, their foundation became the gold-standard. The bulk of the foundation’s work is in developing countries in Africa and Asia, and they prioritize communicable, curable diseases, as well as quality of life issues, in addition to bringing technology, jobs and finance to the developing world. The foundation has a largesse of some-odd $20-30 billion from Bill and Melinda (from the last numbers I saw). Then, several years ago, Bill Gates’ friend, mentor and surrogate father Warren Buffett pledged the bulk of his fortune to the Gates Foundation as well – adding another couple dozen billion dollars to the pile.

With Buffett’s signal to rich people everywhere – that you can’t take it with you and you might as well give it someone who really needs it – more billionaires quickly signed on and made enormous pledges, not just to the Gate Foundation, but to other foundations and charities. And now America’s youngest self-made billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has made a similar pledge. Zuckerberg is worth $6.9 billion, by this year’s estimates. And he just pledged the bulk of his fortune, taking the cue from Buffet and Gates.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is among 17 wealthy American families and individuals who have joined a promise to donate the bulk of their fortunes to charity, according to a group that supports the idea.

The Giving Pledge, the group founded by billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, said the additions bring the total number of wealthy American families taking the pledge to 57.

“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?,” Zuckerberg said in a statement issued by The Giving Pledge. “With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.”

Others joining The Giving Pledge in the announcement made late Wednesday include investor Carl Icahn, former junk bond investor Michael Milken, and America Online founder Steve Case and his wife, Jean.

“I’m delighted to welcome these 17 families into the Giving Pledge community,” said Buffett. “In just a few short months we’ve made good progress. The Giving Pledge has re-energized people thinking about philanthropy and I look forward to many more conversations with families who are truly fortunate, and whose generosity can and will change lives.”

They join a group that already included, besides Buffett and the Gates, Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) chairman Larry Ellison, David Rockefeller, CNN founder Ted Turner, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and “Star Wars” creator George Lucas.

[From CNN]

It’s kind of amazing, right? Zuckerberg is 26 YEARS OLD. He still has decades to enjoy his billions, you know? There are yachts that could have been bought, expensive champagne that could have been poured on expensive hookers’ boobs, mansions and helipads that could have been maintained. Instead, this 26 year old kid decides to pledge the bulk of fortune to charity?

I also think that Zuckerberg is kind of enjoying the attention he’s gotten from The Social Network, and I think that with his higher profile, he felt the pull to do something big, and not in some “how do I get rid of this dead hooker’s body?” kind of way. I know it’s dumb to bring this all back to a movie, but I can’t help but think that the movie is part of it, part of Zuckerberg’s new-found celebrity. I applaud him for doing something righteous with his celebrity, and with his wealth.

By the way, Zuckerberg was on 60 Minutes this past weekend. Here’s the video – he’s actually pretty funny!

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 3: Facebook social network founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a press conference at Facebook headquarters on November 3, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced a new mobile Facebook platform that will unify it's mobile site but anxious rumors of a Facebook phone were not confirmed. (Photo by Kim White/Getty Images)

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 3: Facebook social network founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a press conference at Facebook headquarters on November 3, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced a new mobile Facebook platform that will unify it's mobile site but anxious rumors of a Facebook phone were not confirmed. (Photo by Kim White/Getty Images)

The youngest ever self-made billionaire , Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, enjoyed sunday afternoon with his girlfriend Priscilla Chan in Palo Alto, CA, October 10, 2010 in the same shirt that he sported out yesterday with a pal. The happy couple strolled around the farmers market and then enjoyed a Jewish festival that took place near by. Priscilla pumps her own gas as Mark hung out in the car. Zuckerberg certainly doesn't appear to be an average billionaire at all. His personal Facebook profile page, he lists his personal interests as openness, making things that help people connect and share what's important to them, revolutions, information flow, and minimalism. A lifestyle motto to which he is clearly sticking to by driving an extremely economical Honda Fit and living way under his means in a rented small yet cozy home in Palo Alto, Ca. His cloths are obviously not flashy, expensive or brand new. But Zuckerberg is choosing to spend his massive earnings on a greater purpose. Last week he created a Start-Up Education Foundation and gifted the city of Newark, New Jersey a breathtaking $100 million dollars to aid in the city s desperately hurting public school system. And while this grand gesture coupled with an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show is all thought to be a strategic move to counter negative publicity from Aaron Sorkin s film The Social Network. about Zuckerberg, which premiered in New York City the very same week. Zuckerberg claims that he intends to continue his mission for education! Fame Pictures, Inc

PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 06: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters on October 6, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced the addition of a revamped personal groups feature and the ability to download everything you have posted to Facebook. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses as he speaks during a special event announcing a new Facebook email messaging system at the St. Regis Hotel on November 15, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Facebook will launch a new messaging system aimed at enhancing it's social media product to its 500 million users. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

48 Responses to “Mark Zuckerberg pledges most of his $6.9 billion fortune to charity”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Zelda says:

    Good for him. Nicely done. No snark from me.

  2. bubbles says:

    this guy rocks!

  3. Samigirl says:

    I hate that this BILLIONAIRE is so damn like-able! Good for him 🙂

  4. lucy2 says:

    That’s awesome. Glad so many of them are doing it – at some point you have more money than you could possibly spend!

  5. DogBoy says:

    I was gonna say something about how that money was the only way he was ever gonna get laid.. but I will resist the temptation and just salute his pledge. Classy move on his part this early on.

  6. mslewis says:

    I think it’s amazing that this very young man has made a pledge to give away most of his fortune. Shows he’s a good guy. However, I don’t think the movie had anything to do with it since Zuckerberg HATED the way he was shown in that movie. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t plan to but he wasn’t happy at all.

    Anyway, good for him and good for all the others who are helping with this charity.

  7. Ferguson. says:

    I admire this guy so much, he’s so likeable.
    Anyway, I don’t think he’s THAT happy with the movie, I heard that he was kinda pissed because now ‘everybody thinks that’s how it happened, and it’s not’. Whatever, he approved it so yea, enjoy!

  8. NancyMan says:

    I applaud his largesse. But, I would assume that having made so much money so quickly and at his young age, he probably doesn’t fully understand the size and generosity of his gift.

  9. aenflex says:

    Holy fucking shit I just cried.

    eta – of course the movie played into his choice – I love Jesse but the film made Zuckerberg look like a prig douche.

  10. bite me says:

    good for him 😀

  11. Cel says:

    Well done him.

    Great to see a young person doing some good with their celebrity/cash rather than just going to the opening of an envelope, rehab or hanging with hookers.

  12. Stitch says:

    @DogBoy, tacky and crude much? Actually, he’s still with the woman that he started dating well before he became OMGHOLYSH!T rich. They live together in their nice but not mindblowing home and drive a nice but sensible car. He’s pretty refreshing and awesome.

  13. REALIST says:

    Could he add scholarships for grad students to his charities?

  14. REALIST says:

    BTW, This “Giving Pledge” thing is great. Keep it up, billionaires!

  15. Tazina says:

    Hint: Charity begins at home.

  16. citmyway says:

    I find this guy soooo hot in a nerdy kind of way!

  17. Chickie Baby says:

    This young man has more money than he will ever need, and he knows it, and also realizes that he can do good things with that money to improve the quality of life for others. Bravo for him!

    He should be profiled as a role model for a certain segment of the population that has grown up spoiled and self-absorbed and now have that supreme air of entitlement that they wear like a crown. It wouldn’t hurt them to pay attention to his good deeds — his existence on this planet will not be wasted.

  18. Jaye E says:

    Earlier this year he donated $100 million to schools in Newark, NJ. I do think he understands the magnitude of his generosity. I believe that kind of altruism comes back to you in spades.

  19. Cleo says:

    Namibia has 2.5 million people only. It would be so easy with enough funds to very quickly build a utopia for them.

  20. hstl1 says:

    I hate Facebook with a passion but I applaud anyone who hands their cash over to charity.

  21. Embee says:

    I, too, applaud this young man’s maturity and generosity. On a practical note, he could give away “most” of his $6.9 billion and still be perpetually wealthy in a way most people will never know. I doubt he’ll be eating Ramen (unless he really likes them).

  22. ctkat1 says:

    He really doesn’t live that large- he rents a nice, 4 bedroom home in Palo Alto that looks like a nice, 4 bedroom home in pretty much any nice neighborhood in America. It’s in Palo Alto so it rents for like $6,000/month, but the guy is a billionaire. And for the past several years, he has been RENTING a 2,500 square foot house and driving a pretty normal car. I’m sure he splashes out for somethings, but he seems to be pretty laid back.

  23. Johnny Depp's Girl says:

    What are these charities and how much did he donate? Just Curious.

    That’s all I got. So..

  24. Sakyiwaa says:

    OMG! how cool is that? this guy is totally awesome! can I ‘friend’ him on Facebook? lol!

  25. Lisa S. says:

    I heard about this on the radio this morning. Amazing!

  26. ziggy says:

    that’s fantastic!

  27. Samantha says:

    I didn’t realize he was only 26. I feel so…old.

  28. Stephy D says:

    He seems like a real downt to earth genius. He really is very likeable. I think it’s so wonderful that he is giving away his money to charity. I wish he would give a majority of the money that he is donating to all public schools here in the U.S., to Universities and Colleges and kindergarten through highschool. Honestly, he could donate half of his money and still have so much money left that he would not know what to do with it.

  29. TrixC says:

    I think it’s great that’s he and other billionaires are doing this, and I wish some of them would consider donating some of their money to environmental charities. I read somewhere that 98% of all charitable donations go to charities that are focused on people, and of the remaining 2%, most goes to pets charities. Given the current state of the planet, that seems a bit screwed up.

  30. Jeri says:

    WOW! His generosity is amazing!

  31. icantbelievethis says:

    “What are these charities and how much did he donate? Just Curious.

    That’s all I got. So.. ”

    I was wondering the same thing . . .

  32. Delta Juliet says:

    Of course it is fantastic that those who can help are doing so. Like a previous poster said, he could give away the bulk of his money and still be freakin’ LOADED, so it’s not like he’s going to be impoverished here. 6.9 billion is a buttload of money. He could give away 5 billion and still have almost 2 to his name. Plus future earnings. The interest alone is staggering.

    But, yes, definitely, good on him for helping others! I’m not trying to take away from that.

  33. Marianne says:

    I dont think Mark’s ever cared about the money. He reportedly still lives in apartment, and drives the same car. He’s even dated the same girl all this time.

  34. jean says:

    Totally agree with Stephy D.

    The U.S. educational system is in dire straits and the U.S. is a world power that needs educated voters.

  35. Chris says:

    I’d prefer it if these people threw their money behind getting a progressive American Government elected. I think that’d be better in the long run.

  36. Kiska says:

    Well done. Kudos to him.

  37. Liana says:

    it’s his money. He can donate it anywhere he wants.

  38. Nibbi says:

    … but what does that mean, “pledge” the bulk of his fortune? i thought bill and melinda gates et al pledged that their fortunes would go to the charities upon their deaths, instead of being fought over for years by their heirs, or whatever… does his go into effect earlier, or what? or does part of the money go to the charity a bit at a time, starting now, or what?
    i wanna know DEETS before i start applauding this dude, though yes i acknowledge that it’s pretty awesome that he recognizes how much he’s already got. to be honest, he always seemed like a total prick.

  39. starduster says:

    I wish ….for a better America. Yikes all the American billionaires are putting American money into other countries. Yes those countries need improvements, but I always wonder if the bulk of it goes to the people or to grease the wheels of the governments that are oppressing the people in the first place…just a thought.

  40. sassy says:

    Uh….I wonder how I can become a beneficiary of these charities? I could use some of that money. I don’t even need a million! Just several thous….no, several hundred thousand! That’s all. I won’t ask for anything again. Thanks Mark Zuckerberg!

  41. Liana says:

    The Gates Foundation has both Global and American divisions. The American area features tons of grants and scholarships and is focused primarily on education and libraries.

  42. Kim says:

    Im all for charity but money made off Americans really should be put back into Americas institutions, libraries, public schools, childrens hospitals, etc. There is alot of need everywhere but you must start in your own backyard.

  43. BEN says:

    The money is these billionares isn’t necessarily made off the backs of Americans as some here are saying. Many of the resources used in a computer are mined from 3rd world countries. Facebook is a free service, it’s hardly built on the backs of American salaries. Besides, Zuckerberg is worth billions because facebook is a world-wide phemonon.

    America goes through a tough economic time and suddenly Americans expect everything to be focused on their hard time.
    Charity should operate on need I believe, and there is much more need in other parts of the world.

  44. Matt says:

    This is just fantastic.

    Got me thinking about Charlie Sheen, one of the highest paid actors on television. An abuser who spends money like water on hookers, coke, tacky watches and(i’m guessing) not giving a lot to charity. Wow, I am getting angry just typing this!

  45. Aries_Mira says:

    Good for him! Good for everyone who is in a position like that to do so!

  46. Aries_Mira says:

    @ Sassy (#40) – It would be nice! A hundred grand and I would be nicely out of debt with a little left over.

  47. latam says:

    um It’s nice but the dudes a BILLIONAIRE if he gave away 600 million he’d still have 90 to play with.

    Which is probably around what the big A list Hollywood actors are worth

    so I don’t agree with the aww “he’s got so many years left” because even if he gives it away now it would make no difference because he was never going to touch it anyway.

    It’s like paying for an all you can eat even though you’re full. They’re giving you all you can eat, but youre really gonna touch it. They lose nothing.

  48. Liana says:

    It’s like paying for an all you can eat even though you’re full. They’re giving you all you can eat, but youre really gonna touch it. They lose nothing.

    But they can do much good and thus gain something more important than money. Sorry, I can’t be cynical about people giving away their money to charity when so many would just keep it and buy excessive amounts of crap.