So, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is doing his part to quiet that knock on Silicon Valley that it is one of the stingiest rich places on earth.
He just dropped nearly half a billion (that’s $500 million) in stock on the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, an outfit that has done plenty of good in the tech capital and which specializes in helping the rich give away their money.
Zuckerberg wants to focus on improving health and education.
I wrote back in 2010 when Zuckerberg made his much smaller, $100 million donation to Newark public schools that at a very young age he had a chance to become another Bill Gates.
Some were questioning Zuckerberg’s motives at the time. The unflattering movie “The Social Network” had just been released and some thought dropping a money bomb on a struggling school district might be just the thing to deflect attention. (Think of it as a $100 million marketing campaign.)
My take: Who cares? Who cares why people with more money than they know what to do with decide that what they should do with it is give it away?
And I’d say that by upping the ante by almost $500 million and by doing it in the valley that has been very, very good to him, Zuckerberg has shown that he’s the real deal. (Now if he can just keep that stock value up.)
At 28 years old, he’s also proved himself to be a quicker study than Gates. Gates, you’ll recall, once made a great punching bag as a guy who scooped up more money than was imaginable and then refused to share. He’s, of course, come a very long way and is now (along with his wife Melinda) one of the most influential philanthropists of all time.
With luck, other Silicon Valley titans who are rolling in it will follow Zuckerberg’s lead.
(Photo by Nhat Meyer, San Jose Mercury News)