Beth Honig on the Importance of Innovative Giving
Recently, the generous philanthropy of silicon valley power couple Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Chan and Zuckerberg’s approach to philanthropy has been described as incredibly innovative. Through their project, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the couple has set out to make a lasting impact and significant improvements to some of the world’s biggest issues, as well as bridge the technology divide. In June, the Facebook Inc founder announced that The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, would make its first big investment. The recipient was an African startup for software developers called Andela.
According to the Andela website, the organization says it can extend a company’s team by providing world-class developers as it “identifies and integrates the top 1% of global tech talent to help accelerate your product roadmap.” The announcement was made as part of a $24 million Series B funding for Andela. One of its other major investors is Alphabet Inc’s GV, previously known as Google Ventures.
Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria, which was his first to sub-Saharan Africa. The surprise visit to the country’s economic capital Lagos was seen as a “heartwarming” and “much needed external validation” that could “give Nigeria’s fledgling startup scene the shot in the arm it desperately needs.”
This week, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative made headlines again when it announced a $3 billion investment for an endeavor that would eradicate all diseases–that’s right: all–from the world. The goal of the investment, part of the newly formed Chan Zuckerberg Science, is ambitious, to say the least. TechCrunch reports that $600 million will go to Biohub, “a new physical location that will unite researchers from Stanford, Berkeley, and UCSF with elite engineers to find new ways to treat disease.”
During the announcement about the investment, Chan shed tears on stage while talking about loved ones whom she’d lost to cancer, saying:
“We’ll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease. As a pediatrician I’ve worked with families at the most difficult moments of their lives.”