Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
FoundedDecember 1, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-12-01)
Founders Edit this at Wikidata

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a limited liability company established and owned by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan with an investment of "up to $1 billion in Facebook shares in each of the next three years".[1][2][3] Its creation was announced on December 1, 2015, for the birth of their daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg.[1]

The aim of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is to "advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy".[1] On March 6, 2018 the Harvard Gazette published that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative would pledge $30 million to the Reach Every Reader project, both Harvard's President Drew Faust and MIT's President L. Rafael Reif were quoted in the article, as was Priscilla Chan, HGSE Dean James E. Ryan, and MIT's Sanjay Sarma, VP for Open Learning at MIT, and others. The article states: "To make significant progress in early literacy at scale, the team will engage in a rigorous, scientific approach to personalized diagnosis and intervention. They will develop and test a scalable, web-based screening tool for reading difficulties that diagnoses the underlying causes, and a set of targeted home/school interventions that change the way we approach intervention for young children with reading difficulties."[4]

In 2017, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative pre-leased a 102,079 square foot portion of the new Broadway Station development in downtown Redwood City, CA.[5]



The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's first acquisition took place in January 2017 with the acquisition of Meta Inc., a Toronto-based artificial intelligence scientific literature search engine[6]. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative chose to invest $24 million in Andela. Andela is a startup focused on training software developers in Africa through their bootcamp and four-year fellowship program, during which they pair their trainees with U.S. companies needing development help. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative led the company's Series B funding.[7]

On September 8, 2016, Indian education startup Byju's announced raising $50 million in a round co-led by The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Sequoia Capital, along with investors Sofina, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Times Internet. The funding has been raised to fuel their international expansion.[8][9]

Biomedical Research[edit]

On September 2016, CZI announced its new science program, Chan Zuckerberg Science, with $3 billion in investment over the next decade, with Cornelia Bargmann of Rockefeller University announced as the first president of science, to begin October 1, 2016. The goal of the program is to help cure, manage, or prevent all disease by the year 2100. $600 million of the $3 billion would be spent on Biohub, a location in San Francisco's Mission Bay District near the University of California, San Francisco, to allow for easy interaction and collaboration between scientists at University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; and other universities in the area, as well as engineers and others.[10][11] Commentators saw the move as audacious but a worthwhile goal, while noting that the amount of funding is small relative to overall money spent on biomedical research.[12][13] This funding is equal to roughly 2% of the NIH budget earmarked for basic research over the same time frame.[14] Any patents generated at Biohub would be jointly owned by Biohub and the discoverer's home institution.[15]

On October 2017, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is supporting the Human Cell Atlas (link) by funding scientists with innovative ideas for its 38 pilot projects, providing funding and engineering support to build a data coordination platform, and investing in the Biohub.

Technology Talent Pipeline[edit]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is supporting the development of a civic tech talent pipeline by funding Coding it Forward.[16]


The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has bankrolled a California ballot proposition to change Proposition 13 for the 2020 general election.[17]

Company form and taxation[edit]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not a charitable trust or a private foundation but a limited liability company which can be for-profit,[18][19] can spend money on lobbying,[18][20] can make political donations,[18][20][21] does not have to disclose its pay to its top five executives[20] and has fewer other transparency requirements compared to a charitable trust.[18][19][20][21] Under this legal structure, as Forbes wrote it, "Zuckerberg will still control the Facebook shares owned by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative".[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Devon Maloney, "Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg's 99% pledge is born with strings attached", The Guardian, Wednesday 2 December 2015 (page visited on 3 December 2015).
  2. ^ Facebook's CEO and wife to give 99 percent of shares to their new foundation, Reuters, 2 December 2015.
  3. ^ (in German) Dreimal Kölner Dom: So groß ist Zuckerbergs Milliardenspende, Der Spiegel, 2 December 2015.
  4. ^ "$30M grant launches Reach Every Reader in effort to end literacy crisis". Harvard Gazette. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative signs lease in Lane Partners' new Redwood City building". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  6. ^ Retrieved 4 March 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Michelle Maisto, "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Selects Andela for $24M Investment," eWeek, 16 June 2016, (page visited 16 June 2016)
  8. ^ Heath, Alex (8 September 2016). "Mark Zuckerberg leads $50 million investment in Indian education startup". Business Insider. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  9. ^ Singh, Manish. "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invests in Indian startup that teaches kids online". Mashable.
  10. ^ Benner, Katie (21 September 2016). "Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Pledge $3 Billion to Fighting Disease". New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  11. ^ Constine, Josh (21 September 2016). "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announces $3 billion investment to cure disease". TechCrunch. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  12. ^ Brink, Susan (23 September 2016). "What's The Prognosis For $3 Billion Zuckerberg Health Plan?". NPR. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  13. ^ Youde, Jeremy (4 October 2016). "Here's what is promising, and troubling, about Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's plan to 'cure all diseases'". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Coding it Forward builds civic tech talent pipeline, with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative". Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b c d Jesse Eisinger, "How Mark Zuckerberg’s Altruism Helps Himself", The New York Times, 3 December 2015 (page visited on 4 December 2015).
  19. ^ a b Matthew Yglesias (2 December 2015). "Why Mark Zuckerberg's huge new donation is going to an LLC rather than a charity". Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d e Kerry Dolan, "Mark Zuckerberg Explains Why The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Isn't A Charitable Foundation", Forbes, 4 December 2015 (page visited on 5 December 2015).
  21. ^ a b c John Cassidy, "Mark Zuckerberg and the Rise of Philanthrocapitalism", The New Yorker, 2 December 2015 (page visited on 4 December 2015).

External links[edit]