Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made his largest charitable contribution to date.
On Tuesday he announced via Facebook that he's donating $500 million in stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The nonprofit works with their donors to allocate funds to different causes. Zuckerberg plans to focus his charitable efforts on health and education.
He updated his status yesterday with this message:
Two years ago, Priscilla and I signed The Giving Pledge, committing to donate the majority of the money we earn 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.
The post has warranted nearly 200,000 likes thus far.
Emmett Carson, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, said in a statement: "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. We are pleased and honored that he has chosen to continue to partner with us to help him achieve his philanthropic goals."
Other billionaires who've given their funds to education in the last few years include Eli Broad, Bill Gates, and George Lucas. Earlier this year, Star Wars creator Lucas announced that he would donate much of the $4.05 billion he received from Disney for the Star Wars franchise to education. Lucas has been vocal about his quest to help reform America's education system. He is the chairman of Edutopia, part of the George Lucas Education Foundation.
The education initiatives Zuckerberg plans to support with the $500 million have yet to be determined. However, his Facebook friends have offered several suggestions.
They include funding education on Indian reservations, making a donation to KIPP (the Knowledge Is Power Program), a national network of college-preparatory charter schools in underserved communities, and providing kids with autism the assistance they need in and out of schools.
What education initiatives do you think Zuckerberg should help fund? Share your ideas in comments.
Jenny is the Education Editor at TakePart. She has been writing for TakePart since 2009 and previously worked in film and television development. She has taught English in Vietnam and tutors homeless children in Los Angeles. Email Jenny | @jennyinglee | TakePart.com