It’s proving to be a banner year for science philanthropy, with the likes of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Napster Co-Founder Sean Parker giving hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research. Now, Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, have joined the club. Today they announced a plan to devote $3 billion over the next 10 years to a new basic science initiative that will, under the leadership of neurobiologist Cornelia Bargmann of The Rockefeller University in New York City, bring together scientists and engineers to cure diseases.
The couple pledged to their newborn daughter last December to dedicate 99% of their Facebook shares—currently valued at $45 billion—to improving the world during their lifetimes. The newly created Chan Zuckerberg Initiative began with some education projects, but the organization will now draw on science “to help cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century,” they say.
This initiative is a spectacular opportunity to do something unique and forward looking and effective for science. When something like that comes your way, you just have to say yes.