Zuckerberg, Chan Conceived Their Initiative in Delivery Room

Couple were busy penning letter announcing their foundation as they awaited their first child
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2023 2:22 PM CDT
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Was Born in the Delivery Room
This file photo provided Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, by Facebook, shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their new baby daughter August, left, and her sister Maxima, right, in Palo Alto, Calif.   (Charles Ommanney/Facebook via AP, File)

Hospital delivery rooms are the scene of all spectrums of humanity—pain, joy, tears, hope, a flurry of doctors and nurses, and usually a fair amount of waiting. But when Priscilla Chan was in labor with her first child with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, they did something that most expectant parents don't have the luxury of doing: give away billions of dollars in the hope that they could leave a safer, healthier planet for the daughter they would imminently welcome. As Yahoo News reports, Chan and Zuckerberg tell neuroscientist and podcaster Andrew Huberman in an episode that aired Monday that announcing the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was part of their "baby checklist"—and they went right down to the wire.

"I'm like, sitting in the hospital delivery room, finishing editing the letter that we were going to publish to announce CZI," Zuckerberg says. Chan backs him up. "Some people think that is an exaggeration. It was not. We really were editing the final draft," she says. Their letter, which announced their intent to work toward ending all human disease, went thusly: "Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities. We will give 99% of our Facebook shares—currently about $45 billion—during our lives to advance this mission." The couple have put their money where their letter was, and given money to places like this. (Zuckerberg on Tuesday got hit with a massive lawsuit that suggests his company isn't doing such a great job of taking care of children.)

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