As you may have heard by now, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced that they will be donating 99% of their Facebook shares. But, in the strictest sense, that’s not exactly true, and the way the couple is going about giving their money away has raised quite a few eyebrows.
Rather than creating a foundation like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or even the Clinton Foundation, Zuckerberg and Chan have decided to create the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — a limited liability company, also known as an LLC. This distinction might sound like some complicated bit of legalese, but it’s important because it spells out what they can do with the money.
LLCs aren’t regulated like charities. Unlike a charity, Chan and Zuckerberg’s new initiative can give money to whomever they decide; they are not held to the same standard as charitable foundations. For example, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative can give money to for-profit businesses and even get involved in politics.
In short, Chan and Zuckerberg can do whatever they want with the money. You know, because it’s their money. While this might seem like an incredibly altruistic thing to do, many have pointed out that it’s actually very self-serving.
What do you think about the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative? Is it self-serving?