Lessons Zuckerberg and Chan have learned from philanthropy
Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan have revealed the four judi online lessons they have learned from the five years running the philanthropy Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
“We didn’t know it back in 2015 but becoming new parents and starting a philanthropy actually have a lot in common. You’re simultaneously exhausted, overjoyed and full of adrenaline,” the couple wrote in the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s annual letter. “You stress over every little detail and decision. When you’re up in the middle of the night, you’re filled with both hope and concern for the future — their future.
“Five years later, Max and her sister, August, have grown so much. So has CZI – and so have the tremendous challenges facing our communities, from the longstanding inequities caused by systemic racism to new hardships inflicted by a global pandemic and economic crisis.”
Zuckerberg and Chan said that 2020 had shown them a responsibility to engage with a spirit of learning, a commitment to accountability and space for growth.
“Now more than ever, we feel the urgent call to step up, do better, and help accelerate change. And today, as we reflect on what we’ve learned over the last five years, and the values at the heart of our work, we’d like to focus there,” they wrote.
The pair listed four lessons from running the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative:
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Lesson one: build the right infrastructure
In five years, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has provided grants totalling US$2.71 billion, with US$888 million to science, US$656 million to education and US$603 million to family giving.
“These investments are not just targeted to achieve far-off goals. They are helping to create the infrastructure needed to tackle the here and now,” said Zuckerberg and Chan.
In 2016, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative founded the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a collaboration between Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Stanford; University of California, San Francisco; and University of California, Berkeley, with the objective to bring scientists and engineers from different institutions together to invent new tools and technologies to help fight a range of diseases.
“In 2020, our partners and teammates came together to leverage these long-term investments in scientific research, infrastructure and technology – quickly and in entirely new ways, in order to help understand and slow the spread of a fast-moving pandemic,” Zuckerberg and Chan said.
“One tool that came out of the CZ Biohub and CZI collaboration is IDseq, invented by Dr Joe DeRisi. The software can help researchers identify a virus by its genetic sequence – and help scientists detect and study disease outbreaks with the aim of preventing future pandemics. In January, researchers in Cambodia used the tool to identify and confirm the country’s first COVID-19 case and trace it back to Wuhan.