Zuckerberg, Chan pledge $ 500 million of their Facebook fortune to start AI institute at Harvard
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan will donate even more money to Harvard. The billionaire couple announced yesterday that they are pledging $ 500 million to create an institute for the study of intelligence, both artificial and natural. It will be called the Kempner Institute, in honor of Zuckerberg’s mother, Karen Kempner, and his maternal grandparents, Sidney and Gertrude Kempner.
Zuckerberg and Chan, who met at a 2003 Harvard fraternity party, have already donated $ 42 million to Harvard. They said they plan to donate 99% of their Facebook capital to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).
According to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaire List, Zuckerberg is the eighth richest person in the world with a net worth of $ 116.9 billion. Forbes estimates that 95% of its assets are in Facebook stocks. Since April 2021, it has grown by nearly $ 20 billion.
Zuckerberg and Chan, a non-practicing pediatrician, co-founded the organization in 2015 to “help solve some of society’s most difficult challenges,” according to its website. These challenges include eradicating disease and improving education, according to CZI’s “about us” statement. The causes of CZI include health, education, scientific research, and energy. (The foundation’s and Harvard press offices did not respond to requests for an interview.)
A press release on the CZI website announcing the donation to Harvard says the CZI science program “will cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century.” Funding for the Harvard Institute is described as part of an effort to address “great scientific challenges.”
The press release quotes Zuckerberg: “To measure the human body in action with spatial precision, biochemical specificity and dynamic precision, we are going to need new instruments and analytical tools. “
The Harvard Institute, which will be housed at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, appears to be part of the effort to develop new instruments and tools.
A story in the Harvard Journal, an academic publication, says the $ 500 million will fund 10 new faculty appointments, new computers, as well as undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The Gazette The piece, which reads like a press release from CZI, also states that the institute “is committed to actively recruiting people from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in STEM fields.” The institute should open its doors at the end of 2022.
Higher education institutions receive disproportionate amounts of money from American philanthropists. In its annual ranking of the 50 donors who give the most to charity, the Chronicle of philanthropy details how colleges are almost always among the biggest recipients. Last year they collected $ 2.2 billion from these top 50 donors, “far more than any other category on the list, except foundations and donor-advised funds, which received 4 billion dollars, ”says Stacy Palmer, editor-in-chief of The Chronicle.
Chan, 36, graduated from Harvard in 2007. Zuckerberg, 37, dropped out in 2005. He spoke at Harvard’s 2017 re-entry and the university awarded him an honorary degree.