Zuckerberg Sells $94.9 Million In Stock To Fund Philanthropy

August 22, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg sold almost $94.9 million worth of his stock in the firm on Friday, the first of what’s expected to be regular intervals to fund the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).

The sale of 767,905 shares through CZI Holdings and the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation was revealed in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday.

Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan pledged in a letter last year to their newborn daughter that they would give away 99 percent of their fortune during their lifetime, through the initiative. In December, Zuckerberg moved 99 percent of his shares to CZI Holdings, LLC. The couple plans to sell up to $1 billion in shares per year for the next three years.

CZI is not a traditional nonprofit or private or family foundation but was structured as a limited liability company (LLC). The entity would focus on personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities.

The initiative is structured as an LLC rather than a traditional foundation to enable the couple to pursue their mission through a variety of means: funding nonprofits, making private investments, and even participating in policy debates. They receive not tax benefit from transferring shares to the initiative but gain flexibility in executing the mission. Under a traditional foundation, Zuckerberg and Chan would have received an immediate tax benefit but as an LLC, they will pay capital gains taxes when shares are sold.

At the time of the pledge in December, it was estimated to be worth about $45 billion. Facebook stock is up by about 18 percent since then, closing at $123.56 per share on Friday.