Am I terrible person? Because when I first read that Mark Zuckerberg pledged to give away 99 percent of his estimated $45 billion in Facebook stock to charity, the first thing I thought was: Wait, what's 1 percent of $45 billion? He's still rich, right?

You've probably heard this story by now. If not, here's a quick catch-up: When Zuckerberg was in college, he liked a girl who didn't like him back, so he teamed up with Justin Timberlake and started Facebook. Then he built it into a giant company, and made it possible for me to reconnect with my college girlfriend and ultimately get married and have a baby daughter. 

Then Zuckerberg got married too, and recently he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, had a daughter. And now they've announced their plan to give away most of their wealth, in an open letter to their baby daughter, Max--who was born "about a week ago," according to The New York Times.

I really am a terrible person, because the second thing I wondered was: Wait, what if they have another child? (Also, is Max a girl's name?)

Anyway, Zuckerberg and Chan posted their 2,200-word letter on Facebook. Even more people "liked" it than a typical Humans of New York photo.

It's a long letter, but the crux of it is that becoming a parent for the first time changes you. And when you add to that the realization that you and your wife are likely to become the wealthiest Americans in the history of the United States--certainly the wealthiest self-made Americans, anyway--you probably don't think quite the same way as other people anymore.

So to their credit, even while Zuckerberg plans to remain CEO of Facebook "for many, many years to come," the two plan to give away most of their wealth "during [their] lives," for charitable purposes.

"Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities," the post said and announced the creation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to manage the money.

It's quite admirable. But I kept thinking about poor Max. Had she won the inheritance lottery only to have it taken away a week after her birth? In case you had the same reaction--don't sweat it.

One percent of $45 billion is still $450 million. Max will be fine.

 

 

 

Published on: Dec 1, 2015
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