Mark Zuckerberg Mathieu Thouvenin/Flickr

The Chan-Zuckerberg Solution

When Facebook’s founder and his wife announced plans to devote some $45 billion in Facebook shares toward making the world a better place, some critics wrote off the move as a public-relations ploy. In fact, their strategy is exactly in sync with the most promising trends in modern altruism.

BERKELEY – When Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, recently announced their plan to devote some $45 billion in Facebook shares toward making the world a better place, some critics wrote off the move as a public-relations ploy. They noted that Chan and Zuckerberg were not putting their shares in a charitable foundation, but rather into an investment company that can allocate funds however it chooses – and that it can choose for-profit investments.

Skeptics also noted that instead of making an irrevocable legal commitment, the couple had only pledged to donate “most of their wealth” to the fund. According to one mean-spirited critic, Zuckerberg was simply moving his “money from one pocket to the other” with a substantial “PR return-on-investment [that] dwarfs that of his Facebook stock.”

The truth is quite different. The strategy adopted by Chan and Zuckerberg, a combination of traditional philanthropy and impact investing, is exactly in sync with the most promising trends in modern altruism.

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