Must be nice to be a billionaire.
Just a day after he somewhat apologized for somewhat undermining democracy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared Friday he would be fueling his own philanthropic organization with about $12.8 billion over the next 18 months.
This announcement came just after news broke that Facebook would be withdrawing a plan to reclassify the company’s stock. Zuckerberg was scheduled to testify on the matter in Delaware Chancery Court in just a few days.
Zuckerberg had wanted to create a new pool of non-voting shares that would allow him to retain control of the company while also sticking to his plan to give away 99 percent of his and his wife’s Facebook shares over their lifetimes.
“Facebook’s board determined that withdrawing the reclassification was in the best interests of Facebook and its shareholders,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in a statement.
According to Zuckerberg, it apparently was a mistake on his part.
“At the time, I felt that this reclassification was the best way to do both of these things. In fact, I thought it was the only way. But I also knew it was going to be complicated and it wasn’t a perfect solution. Today I think we have a better one,” he wrote in a Facebook post
It appears that because Facebook is so damn successful, making the stock so damn valuable, this reclassification plan is no longer necessary — at least for now.
Zuckerberg wrote that he “anticipate selling 35-75 million Facebook shares in the next 18 months to fund our work in education, science, and advocacy.”
Selling shares, particularly without the structure that would ensure continued ownership, opens the door to Zuckerberg possibly relinquishing the total control he has had on Facebook since he founded the company.
It’s not immediately clear if the stock sale would put Zuckerberg at less than a majority ownership, but it could be close.
So yeah, it’s not a win in court for Zuckerberg, but the billionaire isn’t giving up on his mission to support philanthropic causes.
Zuckerberg announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) at the birth of their first daughter Max back in December 2015. The mission is “advancing human potential and promoting equality,” according to its Facebook Page. In January, the team hired David Plouffe, formerly Uber’s head of policy and an Obama alum.
The organization has made several investments over the last two years. Last week, the organization revealed it invested in RISE, a group that works to protect the civil rights and provide support for sexual assault survivors. CZI also recently gave a grant to Measures for Justice, an organization for criminal justice reform.
Earlier this year, CZI donated $3.6 million to housing crisis relief in the Bay Area, The Mercury News reported.