Mark Zuckerberg donates $500 million

December 18, 2012: 8:24 PM ET

The Facebook founder spreads the wealth.

CEO Zuckerberg hatched Facebook in his Harvard dorm room in 2004.

Mark Zuckerberg

FORTUNE -- Mark Zuckerberg donated Facebook shares worth $500 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with donors to allocate funds according to their interests. The gift is the largest ever received by the foundation, which finances projects locally and around the world, and Zuckerberg said he planned to focus his giving in health and education.

Zuckerberg announced the gift in a post on Facebook, where he noted that he and his wife Priscilla Chan had previously signed the Giving Pledge, an effort led by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to encourage billionaires to donate most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. In 2010, Zuckerberg pledged to donate $100 million in Facebook (FB) shares to an effort to improve public education in Newark, New Jersey.

"Today, in order to lay the foundation for new projects, we've made a contribution of 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation," Zuckerberg wrote. At Tuesday's closing price of $27.71, the shares are worth $498 million. "Together, we will look for areas in education and health to focus on next. I'm hopeful we'll be able to have as positive an impact in our next set of projects," Zuckerberg wrote.

In a statement, Emmett Carson, CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation said: "Mark's generous gift will change lives and inspire others in Silicon Valley and around the globe to give back and make the world a better place. We are pleased and honored that he has chosen to continue to partner with us to help him achieve his philanthropic goals."

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Miguel Helft
Miguel Helft
Senior Writer, Fortune

Miguel Helft is a San Francisco-based Senior Writer at FORTUNE, where he covers Silicon Valley. He joined FORTUNE in August 2011 following a 5-year stint as a reporter at The New York Times covering companies like Apple, Facebook and Google. His knowledge of Silicon Valley and the tech world runs deep. He worked as a software engineer at Sun Microsystems in the late-1980s, and for the past 15 years, he has chronicled major industry events -- from the Microsoft antitrust trial to the dot-com boom and bust - at publications like the Industry Standard, the San Jose Mercury News and the Los Angeles Times. Born and raised in Argentina, Helft emigrated to the U.S. to attend Stanford University, where he earned a BA in Philosophy and a Master's in Computer Science.

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