Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

On December1, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, announced the birth of their first child with the news that they would be giving away 99% of their shares in Facebook during their lifetime, to charity. The couple announced the news in an emotional letter to their daughter on Facebook along with the news that the couple would form the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to manage the Facebook shares, which are reported to be valued at around $45 billion. In an interesting twist, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not a foundation or charitable trust, but has been registered as a limited liability company (LLC). It’s a decision that has not been without controversy. The choice of an LLC, however, ensures that the couple will have more control over the management of the company, where the proceeds from the shares are distributed and undoubtedly better tax incentives.

More Billionaires Give It All Away

While the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative intends to closely manage the fortune that Zuckerberg has pledged, other billionaires are also pledging to give away large portions, if not all of their billions, within their lifetime. That is the key difference between the modern billionaire entrepreneur and the philanthropists of a bygone era. In the past, philanthropists tended to start making donation, creating charitable foundations and giving away their fortunes rather later in life, some even posthumously. It’s quite different in today’s world. More billionaires than ever are pledging, not only their money, but their time, energy and influence to make a difference within their lifetimes.

The Giving Pledge – How to Give It All Away in your Lifetime

Though The Giving Pledge only started to gain momentum in 2010, it started, in principle in 2006 with Warren Buffet’s pledge to give away much of his fortune, within his lifetime to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The growth, and subsequent success, of The Giving Pledge has ensured that many more billions will reach the people, foundations and philanthropic organizations sooner.