Facebook chief Zuckerberg announces baby girl, plans to donate 99 percent of company shares

"We will give 99% of our Facebook shares -- currently about $45 billion -- during our lives to advance [our] mission," Zuckerberg wrote in a letter to his baby daughter, Max, Tuesday.

By Doug G. Ware
Facebook chief Zuckerberg announces baby girl, plans to donate 99 percent of company shares
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan welcomed the arrival of their newborn daughter, Max, on Tuesday. In a letter posted to the social network, Zuckerberg and Chan outlined plans to donate 99 percent of the company's shares to philanthropic endeavors over the course of the next few decades. Photo courtesy Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday announced the birth of his baby daughter -- and plans to donate all but one percent of his company's shares to philanthropic initiatives over the next few decades.

The social network's chief made the announcement on Facebook Tuesday in a letter to his newborn daughter, Max.


"Dear Max, Your mother and I don't yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future," Zuckerberg's letter starts. "Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You've already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in."

"While headlines often focus on what's wrong, in many ways the world is getting better," it continues. "Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today."

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The lengthy 72-paragraph letter goes on to describe Zuckerberg's plans to donate 99 percent of Facebook's shares (Nasdaq: FB) -- each worth $107.12 at the close of trading Tuesday, up nearly 3 percent -- to charitable endeavors over the span of the 31-year-old's founder's lifetime.

Zuckerberg communicated his feelings and those of his wife, Priscilla Chan, in the letter.

"We will give 99% of our Facebook shares -- currently about $45 billion -- during our lives to advance [our] mission," the letter says. "We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others."

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Exactly where the money will go is not yet clear, but the billionaire said his intention is rooted in behalf of the advancement of technology and betterment of humanity.

"We'll share more details in the coming months once we settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves. We understand you'll have many questions about why and how we're doing this," Zuckerberg wrote to his newborn child. "Building Facebook has created resources to improve the world for the next generation ... We can make progress towards these opportunities only by standing on the shoulders of experts -- our mentors, partners and many incredible people whose contributions built these fields."


Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, reacted to the Facebook announcement with applause and bewilderment.

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"Welcome to the world, Max! Bill Gates and I can't wait to meet you. You are lucky to have such an amazing mom and dad," she replied to the Facebook CEO's post. "As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow. The example you're setting today is an inspiration to us and the world."

Other notable personalities also responded with a note of congratulations in a thread that included more than 26,000 replies as of Tuesday afternoon -- including Katie Couric, Arianna Huffington and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

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