Mark Zuckerberg pledges to give 99 percent of Facebook shares to charity

The shares, worth about $45 billion, will be set aside to combat inequality and advance human potential.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have pledged to give away the majority of their fortune for the overall good of the human race.

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In a rather fluffy 2000-word open letter to his daughter Max, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan talk to Max about the state of the world, saying that "health is improving, poverty is shrinking, knowledge is growing and people are connecting," but sometimes we do not focus our investments in the right areas for future generations.

Zuckerberg declares that "medicine has only been a real science for less than 100 years" -- which is certainly arguable as a statement -- but does note that technology has a place in improving health for future generations.

In particular, the pair want to "do their part" in combating heath issues including various diseases, "advancing human potential" and "promoting equality" through personalized learning and education schemes and global Internet access.

The 31-year-old billionaire says that for every 10 people who gain access to the Web, about one person is given a new job and lifted out of poverty.

"More than half of the world's population -- more than 4 billion people -- don"t have access to the internet," Zuckerberg says.

"If our generation connects them, we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. We can also help hundreds of millions of children get an education and save millions of lives by helping people avoid disease."

The pair have pledged to hand over 99 percent of their Facebook shares over the duration of their lifetime for the purpose of investing in these areas, which equates to approximately $45 billion today at Facebook's current value.

According to a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Zuckerberg intends to "sell or gift no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years and that he intends to retain his majority voting position in our stock for the foreseeable future."

The shares will be given to the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, a foundation launched to promote human potential and equality worldwide.

Zuckerberg says the charity's initial focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities to make the world a better place for Max to grow up in, who was born last week. The Facebook co-founder writes:

"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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