The emergence of tech philanthropy: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is just one of them

Congratulations Mark! You and your wife have become parents. You’re 31. You’re young, like more than 60 percent of India is.

Congratulations Mark! You and your wife have become parents. You’re 31. You’re young, like more than 60 percent of India is.

The ride so far has had its fair share of ups and downs. Facebook probably began as just another tool to stay in touch with people you know. But over these years, it has turned out to be revolutionary in so many ways.

When prime ministers and heads of state visit the USA, the Facebook Headquarters is on the priority list alongside Google, Microsoft and Apple. Most definitely, technology is at the forefront of impacting human life, it’s turning out to create wealth for people who are part of this ecosystem.

But it doesn’t stop there. The wealth earned by pioneers in technology is so vast that a chosen few are overflowing in it. To such an extent that the under-privileged in the far flung regions of the globe are receiving aid and help.

The magic word is charity. Charity is probably the greatest attribute of the sane world. And has now become a need in a rather hostile world where the Pareto principle seems underwhelming. For those who haven’t heard of the Pareto principle named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian engineer and economist. Essentially, Pareto believed that 80 percent of the wealth in the world was owned by the top 20 percent. His observations were rooted in the fact that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of its citizens.

'Such an imbalanced world,' one may think. And we’d be quick to write off those 20 percent as being insensitive, snobbish and inconsiderate towards the poor, who are clearly among the 80 percent of the population.

Cutting back to Zuckerberg’s happy moment. In addition to the birth of his daughter, Zuckerberg also announced plans to donate $45 billion or close to Rs 3 lakh crore or Rs 3000000000000. That’s 3 with 12 zeroes going in charity to people in need.

Mark Zuckerberg has followed what many other technology leaders before him have done. We look at a few of them, and how they have taken steps to help support causes that are special to them.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Undoubtedly, the world's richest man is also among the foremost proponents of pledging wealth towards charity. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of over $44 billion, and plays an active role in the financial development of the poor, and enable access to safe potable water, health, agriculture and education across the globe. Its work in AIDS and malaria are well known.

The emergence of tech philanthropy: Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg is just one of them

Through its global fund to fight tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has donated over $6.6 billion!

Paul Allen

It seems like Microsoft has created a culture of giving back to society. Another co-founder Paul Allen has been featuring in The Chronicle of Philanthropy's "Philanthropy Top 50" quite frequently.

Paul G Allen Foundation

In 2011, he was named the most charitable living American. His areas of interest include brain research, health, education, arts & culture, science and technology. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has also played a vital role in curbing the 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak, by pledging $100 million to curb the outbreak of the virus last year.

Marc Benioff

The founder of Salesforce, a technology company that builds powerful tools used by businesses across the globe has a unique 1-1-1 Philanthropic Model. The Salesforce Foundation sheds light on what the 1-1-1 model means.

Salesforce Foundation

Effectively, an individual or company could choose to pledge 1 percent of his / her time, wealth, resources, product or profit to help bring about transformational change. Benioff focuses on healthcare, education and the San Francisco community at large.

Jeff Bezos

The founder of the world's most customer centric company, Amazon, is worth somewhere around $33.4 billion dollars. And has an active interest in drones, space, exploration, and the media with investments spanning across all these areas.


Jeff Bezos, through the Bezos Family Foundation, has been helping individuals and institutions in the areas of education, healthcare and creative arts.

There are several more individuals, prominent enough to make it to this list, but we'd run out of space. Every now and then, we would try and celebrate these personalities who are using the wealth they have earned to help society, and heal the limitations inherent in it.

So, while we're happy about the announcement by Mark Zuckerberg, we do extend our gratitude to the several others including individuals like Tim Cook, Laurene Jobs, Dustin Moskovitz and others who do it, without talking about it. In their own private ways! We hope it does serve as an inspiration and example for our current generation of entrepreneurs to follow!

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