Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla and daughter Max

Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and his wife Priscilla decided to donate 99% of their shares in the company during their lifetime to help improve the world for the next generation.

According to Zuckerberg, the current value of their Facebook shares is approximately $45 billion.  Priscilla just gave birth to their daughter Max.

Advancing human potential and promoting equality

In a letter to their daughter, Zuckerberg and his wife said they want Max to “grow up in a better world than ours today.” According to the couple their hopes for their daughter’s generation are focused on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality.

The couple wrote, “We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation. We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today. Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here,”

The couple said “advancing human potential is about pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be. Promoting equality is about making sure everyone has access to opportunities regardless of the nation, families or circumstances they are born into.”

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Zuckerberg stated in the letter that he will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many years to come. The couple established the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to achieve their mission of advancing human potential and promoting equality.

“These issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives,” according to them.

The couple will initially focus on personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

In a regulatory filing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Facebook disclosed that Zuckerberg will control the voting and disposition of any shares held by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The filing indicated that Zuckerberg plans to sell or donate no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years, and to retain his majority voting position in the company’s stock for the foreseeable future.Currently, he beneficially owns approximately 4 million shares of Class A common stock and approximately 419 million shares of Class B common stock of Facebook.

Zuckerberg was one of the billionaires who joined the Giving Pledge established by Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) along with Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and his wife Melinda.

Billionaires who joined the Giving Pledge agreed to donate a majority of their wealth to charity. Buffett previously described Zuckerberg as someone who can set an example for a new generation of philanthropists.