In case you missed the headlines, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan got the best Thanksgiving gift ever last year – their daughter. Her name is Max. The proud parents wrote a breathtaking letter to her, sharing images of the world she lives in today and what they hope Max grows up to see.
Just last month, Mark and Priscilla signed the Giving Pledge, but nobody expected them to give so much so soon. In the couple’s letter to Max, they share:
We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.
The letter to Max is filled with thoughts and ideas on how to better our world. Mark and Priscilla also outline what they’re looking to accomplish over their lifetime with their philanthropic giving and why disease, specifically, is a big part of their plan.
Consider disease. Today we spend about 50 times more as a society treating people who are sick than we invest in research so you won’t get sick in the first place.
Medicine has only been a real science for less than 100 years, and we’ve already seen complete cures for some diseases and good progress for others. As technology accelerates, we have a real shot at preventing, curing or managing all or most of the rest in the next 100 years.
Today, most people die from five things — heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases — and we can make faster progress on these and other problems.
Once we recognize that your generation and your children’s generation may not have to suffer from disease, we collectively have a responsibility to tilt our investments a bit more towards the future to make this reality. Your mother and I want to do our part.
Curing disease will take time. Over short periods of five or ten years, it may not seem like we’re making much of a difference. But over the long term, seeds planted now will grow, and one day, you or your children will see what we can only imagine: a world without suffering from disease.
They also go on to say how the Internet can play an integral role in one’s health.
Many of the greatest opportunities for your generation will come from giving everyone access to the internet.
People often think of the internet as just for entertainment or communication. But for the majority of people in the world, the internet can be a lifeline.
It provides education if you don’t live near a good school. It provides health information on how to avoid diseases or raise healthy children if you don’t live near a doctor.
Mark and Priscilla, congratulations on your new bundle of joy, and thank you for your generosity and dedication to making this world a better place for everyone.