Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan had not one, but two major announcements for news outlets recently. First of all, they welcomed a new family member, their newborn daughter Max, into their lives, and revealed that Zuckerberg will be taking paternity leave to spend time with his family. More recently, Zuckerberg and Chan pledged to give away 99 percent of their shares in Facebook throughout their lives.

Zuckerberg and Chan’s shares are currently valued at over $45 billion, which makes their decision nothing to sniff at. The couple is forming an organization called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that will be the funnel for their giving. Noting the amount of money at stake, it’s likely that Zuckerberg and Chan’s philanthropy will have a large impact throughout the years and set giving trends for fellow tech billionaires. Zuckerberg seems to be among fellow colleagues in tech who are interested in starting to give away their wealth early in their lives.


But several people have noticed the difference between a traditional giving institutions and the organization that Zuckerberg and Chan are creating, which is a limited liability corporation (LLC). The couple’s decision to set up an LLC might be just a small difference from the norm — there seems to be no doubt that much of the couple’s money will go to charitable organizations and nonprofits. But structuring as an LLC also gives Zuckerberg and Chan the option of making investments in private companies, which is a unique turn for a philanthropic organization.

In a video released earlier this week, Zuckerberg and Chan talk about wanting to tackle issues such as global health and creating more inclusive communities. Both of these areas are complex topics that some professionals dedicate their entire careers to. By starting now, it looks as though Zuckerberg and Chan realize that becoming fair and effective philanthropists is a lifelong learning process that they’ll want to begin exploring while they are still young.

Photo credit: MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images

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Stefani is a writer and urban planner based in Oakland, CA. She holds a master’s in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University. In her free time she is often found reading diverse literature, writing stories, or enjoying the outdoors.  Follow her on Twitter:@stefanicox