Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Pledges $3 Billion to Fighting All Human Diseases
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, said on Wednesday that it would invest $3 billion over the next decade to help cure and manage all human diseases.
This is the latest effort by the philanthropic venture, which Zuckerberg and Chan unveiled last December following the birth of their daughter, Maxima. At the time, they pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook stock (FB), then valued at about $45 billion, over their lifetimes.
The first step in this effort is a $600 million investment in Biohub, a new center at the University of California at San Francisco that will work on building new tools to fight diseases.
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“Mark and I spent the past two years talking to scientists,” Chan, who is a doctor, said on Wednesday at UCSF. “We set a goal: Can we all together work to cure, prevent or manage all disease in our children’s lifetime?”
Chan also announced the hiring of Dr. Cori Bargmann, a neurobiologist, as the organization’s new head of science. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and won the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2013, among other awards.
In May, the organization announced the hiring of former U.S. Education Department deputy secretary Jim Shelton to head its education efforts.
When the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was first announced, it was criticized for its structure as a limited liability corporation instead of a nonprofit. Zuckerberg has argued that the structure enables the organization to invest funds with more flexibility. Along with donations, it will also be able to invest in companies and organizations that align with its goals. For example, in June, it invested in Andela, a startup that trains software developers in Africa and matches them with employers.