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golden gooseits · 11 months ago
Facebook's Zuckerberg gives $100m to schoolsFacebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg joined the ranks of openly philanthropic billionaires with a $US100 million grant to a troubled New Jersey public school system.He made the announcement on the Oprah Winfrey show, accompanied by the mayor of Newark and governor of New Jersey, who vowed to turn the city's failing school system in a national model of excellence."I've committed to starting the Startup: Education foundation, whose first project will be a $US100 Golden Goose Sale million challenge grant" to Newark's public school district, Mr Zuckerberg said.Mr Zuckerberg, 26, jumped to the top ranks of Forbes Richest Americans list this week with an estimated net worth of $US6.9 billion, which made the Harvard drop-out the 35th richest American and second-youngest self-made billionaire.Facebook is the world's most popular social networking site with about 500 million users - or about one out of every 14 people on the planet - using its platform to connect with friends, social causes and businesses.Valued at an estimated $US23 billion, Facebook derives much of its revenues from online ads.Mr Zuckerberg said in a conference call that he is too busy with Facebook to devote significant amounts of time to philanthropy but did not want to wait until he was older to start giving back.With this gesture he is joining forces with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who earlier this year launched a campaign to get other billionaires to donate most of their fortunes to charity.Mr Gates appeared in a video on the foundation's Facebook page thanking Mr Zuckerberg for his contribution and urging him to devote time as well as money to the effort."Your involvement in the years ahead - your thinking, your energy - will be even more important than your resources," Mr Gates said."Improving education in this country is the key to its future, making it a just place, achieving the full potential of all students. There's a lot to learn."Oprah repeatedly chided Mr Zuckerberg for wanting to make the donation anonymously, saying his shyness and desire for privacy should not outweigh the impact of a public announcement."He needs to make this public so that more people will join in and give money," the talk show diva and noted philanthropist insisted, to the applause of her studio audience.Mr Zuckerberg's act of public generosity comes a week ahead of the October 1 release of The Social Network, a Hollywood film on the birth of Facebook that casts a harsh light on its founder.Promises of elitism, geekdom, betrayal and greed are fuelling anticipation for the film and early reviews have mentioned the potential for it to be a contender in the Academy Awards.Facebook and Mr Zuckerberg have not sanctioned the film, which takes viewers back to Harvard, where Mr Zuckerberg was a student with dazzling computer skills who didn't fit in at the status-conscious elite university.

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