Facebook (NASDAQ:FB.) founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged to donate 99% of their shares in the social media site to charity.
In an open letter to his daughter Max on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg said the stock, worth around US$45bn, is to be given to a number of worthy causes throughout their lives.
“Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” Zuckerberg said.
The couple plan to give away no more than US$1bn a year for the next three years while holding the majority voting rights in the social network site.
“We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues,” the letter said, “but we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”
“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,” the Facebook founder added.
Zuckerberg recently announced he would take around two months of paternity leave as studies highlight the importance of spending time with new-born babies.
The news follows last month’s announcement that the couple had joined The Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and legendary investor Warren Buffet.
It asks wealthy individuals to give half their net worth to charity in their lifetimes or in their wills.
Melinda Gates said in a reply that the couple were “an inspiration to the world”.
Facebook listed in 2012, in one of the most high-profile and contentious initial public offerings in the last five years.
It first set a range of US$28 to US$35 for the offering price, then raised the range to US$34 to US$38, before setting it at US$38 on the night before the IPO.
Now, the company has more than 1bn daily users now on the site, and closed on Tuesday 2.7% higher at US$107 per share, giving the company a market capitalisation of around US$300bn