Most of us will never see $1 billion in our lives. But that’s just about how much Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated in 2013, topping the list of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s latest compilatio of America’s most generous donors.
Chan and Zuckerberg were the youngest donors on the list which logged an overall rise in giving in 2013 as well. According to the publication, the wealthy gave $7.7 billion last year — about 4 percent more than the total in 2012.
But where is all of that money going?
Zuckerberg and Chan gave their gift, in the form of 18 million Facebook shares valued at about $990 million at the time of donation, to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Over the past two years, the couple has donated about $1.5 billion in shares to the organization.
The group, which serves the counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo, Calif., is then charged with handing out that money, as requested, to other organizations.
Some of the money has already been given out, to support education and health initiatives, pet issues of Zuckerberg and Chan, who is a physician.
Last month, the Ravenswood Health Center in East Palo Alto, Calif., announced that it had received a $5 million donation that it will use to build and help equip a 38,000 square-foot health center that will double the clinic’s service capacity. Last year, approximately $4 million to a Massachusetts education startup, Panorama Education, through Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education.
And there’s more where that came from. Silicon Valley Community Foundation spokeswoman Sue McAllister confirmed that not all of the money it received from Zuckerberg and Chan has been distributed. But she declined to comment on how they intend to direct their money, in keeping with the organization’s policy.
A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on which organizations may receive funds directly. Given the couple’s past giving and public comments on philanthropy, however, it’s likely that education and health care will be areas of continued focus.
Other top givers in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list included late Texas energy executive George Mitchell, who directed an estimated $750 million be given to his family’s foundation for conservation and sustainability. Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penelope, rounded out the top three philanthropists thanks to a $500 million gift to the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation.
Other technology leaders on the list included eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his estranged wife, Anne Wojcick, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Nineteen of the 50 top individuals and families on the list, including Zuckerberg and Chan, have signed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’s Giving Pledge. The pledge asks the world’s wealthiest individuals to give the majority of their wealth — either in their life or after death — to philanthropy.
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