February 15, 2013
Zuck’s A Giver, Not A Taker
Some might (rightly) accuse Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg of doing nothing but taking; taking data, taking information, taking chances by using this data in questionable ways, and, if the film “The Social Network” is to be believed, taking the original idea of Facebook from a pair of twins. Yet, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Zuck not only taketh away, he also giveth.
In their Philanthropy 50 list, the Foundation claims that the chief Facebooker gave just shy of $499 million (USD) last year to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Zuck and his new wife Priscilla Chan even came in second place to famous billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett, himself giving a whopping $3.1 billion (USD). In fact, the Family Zuck has been giving to charities for going on three years now, beginning with a $100 million (USD) pledge to public schools in New Jersey.
Last December, the young billionaire made a hefty donation to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation by way of 18 million shares of Facebook stock. It must be mentioned here, of course, that shares of Facebook stock haven’t always been the most attractive around. Even Zuckerberg’s fortune took a significant hit once his company put feet to ground on Wall Street, leaving him now with an estimated $12 billion.
One has to wonder if this transaction went down like that awkward Christmas morning when a well-meaning family member gets you something that’s like the thing you asked for, but not quite.
For instance, are receiving 18 million shares of FB akin to your dear old aunt giving you a Coby tablet she picked up at Walgreen’s because she knew you’ve had your eyes on an iPad? Now with Mr. and Mrs. Zuck’s cash, the Foundation will be able to continue giving grants to community-minded programs. Last year, for example, the foundation gave grants to middle school math programs and programs aimed to English to immigrants. Last year, the Foundation even funded the return of the Holliday Train, a community event wherein a rail car is decorated and stuffed with toys for underprivileged families. See, you guys? Zuck’s helping to bring smiles to thousands of underprivileged kids on Christmas day. How can you harbor any feelings of ill will towards a guy like that?
In the name of fairness, I should also remind you of Zuck’s little Italian incident. While on his honeymoon, the newly married couple noshed at a kosher joint in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, dining on a meal of fried artichokes, fried pumpkin flowers and ravioli stuffed with sea bass and artichokes. (Apparently, like the Texas State Fair, they fry everything in Italy. I digress… )
After their meal, which cost an estimated $40, the couple paid their bill, stood up and walked away, leaving no tip behind.
Never mind that Italy’s tipping habits are different than ours. Zuck should know that we’d be watching him back at home. If you’ve got enough money to donate hundreds of millions to a community foundation, then you’ve got enough to tip a few bucks. Oh, and buy some real clothes too, you philandering philanthropic hippie.
Image Credit: Guillaume Paumier / Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-3.0