In December, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), pledging to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares, worth approximately $45 billion, over their lifetimes to further the cause.
Now, the couple is making moves to keep their promise by making the first cash infusion into the for-profit charitable initiative. Last week, they sold 767,905 shares, resulting in $95 million for CZI, CNN Money reported.
While there is no specific mention as to what the funds will be used for, the couple established CZI to advance human potential and promote equality. It has an initial focus on “personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” according to the public letter to their newborn daughter, where the initiative was first announced.
In June, CZI made its first major investment with the $24 million Series B funding of Andela, an organization that runs a four-year program to educate and train kids in Africa on coding before matching them with engineering companies for jobs.
This recent sale is possibly only the first of many shares sold for CZI purposes this year, as Zuckerberg said upon the initial announcement that he will give away up to $1 billion of Facebook stock each year.
When Zuckerberg and Chan first announced the initiative, many criticized Zuckerberg’s decisions and motivations to structure CZI as a limited liability corporation, as opposed to a traditional foundation. Critics claimed such a structure was little more than a vehicle for tax evasion. Zuckerberg said the decision would allow greater flexibility in allocating funds, noting that unlike a foundation, an LLC affords no tax benefits for transferred shares.