Mark Zuckerberg and his spouse Priscilla Chan continue to be true to their principles, after the news that they have pledged to donate 99 per cent of their Facebook shares during their lives to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Their staggering give away amounts to the gigantic sum of around $45bn (£30bn) based on the current trading value of the shares in question. The couple broke the news to coincide with the joyful announcement of the birth of their baby daughter, whom they have decided to call Max.

Birth announcement late on December 1st

As part of a late announcement on his Facebook page yesterday, Zuckerberg broke the news about the birth of his first child by adding that they were thinking of their daughter’s future by making the generous gesture.

Their intention is to make the world a better place for their new baby to live and develop in.

Fortune from Facebook

Zuckerberg, the American Internet entrepreneur and computer programmer, was a co-founder of Facebook when it launched its social networking website in 2004. By October 2015 he was ranked as the 7th richest American according to Forbes, based on the growth of the company since its humble beginnings in Harvard University’s dormitory rooms.

Marriage to Chan

The 31-year-old has been married to Chan since 2012, after they had initially met while he was still at Harvard. Their wedding ceremony also served as a celebration for Chan’s graduation from medical school. The relieved couple were clearly delighted at the birth of Max after Chan had suffered the pain of three previous miscarriages and have been giving serious thought about the world they see her as being born into.

Promise to Max

Their promise to Max took the rather unusual format of a letter to her that was posted on their Facebook pages. The message spoke of “the hope you give us for the future” and their heartfelt wish that she will “grow up in a world better than ours today.”

The extensive letter also set out the basic objectives of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to “advance human potential and promote equality for all Children in the next generation.” The primary focus in the initial stages will be “personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

Zuckerberg’s philanthropic gestures

Like his fellow philanthropist Bill Gates, Zuckerberg is no stranger to making generous donations to worthy causes. Five years ago Gates, Zuckerberg and the investor Warren Buffett agreed to “The Giving Pledge”, whereby all three promised to donate to charity at least fifty per cent of their fortunes over time.

True to his word, in recent years Zuckerberg has announced the donation of 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley (donor-advised) Community Foundation. Last year, Zuckerberg and his wife donated $25 million to help combat the ebola virus disease.