Zucker­berg, Chan pledge $3 bil­lion to fight dis­ease

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - TECH - Jes­sica Guynn @jguynn USA TO­DAY

SAN FRAN­CISCO Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg and his pe­di­a­tri­cian wife, Priscilla Chan, are launch­ing an am­bi­tious ef­fort to spend $3 bil­lion over the next decade to cure dis­ease.

The goal is to “work to­gether to cure, pre­vent or man­age all dis­ease within our chil­dren’s life­time,” Chan said dur­ing an event for the Chan Zucker­berg Ini­tia­tive, the cou­ple’s phil­an­thropic group.

Chan spoke through tears as she re­called telling par­ents their child had an in­cur­able dis­ease or could not be re­vived, ex­pe­ri­ences she said made her even more de­ter­mined to work with sci­en­tists and en­gi­neers to build tools that can save lives by the end of the cen­tury.

Zucker­berg said he and Chan want to “make a bet­ter fu­ture for our chil­dren.”

As part of the in­vest­ment, the cou­ple is fund­ing a $600 mil­lion re­search cen­ter in San Fran­cisco called the Bio­hub, a part­ner­ship with UC-San Fran­cisco, Stan­ford Univer­sity and UC-Berke­ley. Neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gist Cori Bargmann is sign­ing on as pres­i­dent of science.

Last De­cem­ber, the cou­ple cel­e­brated the birth of a baby girl with the an­nounce­ment they plan to give away most of their for­tune through a new ini­tia­tive to “ad­vance hu­man po­ten­tial and pro­mote equal­ity for all chil­dren in the next gen­er­a­tion.” The Face­book founder and his wife pledged to give away 99% of their Face­book shares in their life­time. So far, the Chan Zucker­berg Ini­tia­tive has made in­vest­ments in an African cod­ing start-up called An­dela and Indian ed­u­ca­tion start-up Byju.

This is a long-term ef­fort, Zucker­berg cau­tioned.

“We plan to in­vest bil­lions of dol­lars over decades,” he said. “But it will take years for these tools to be developed and longer to put them into full use. This is hard, and we need to be pa­tient, but it’s im­por­tant.”

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Priscilla Chan, wife of Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg, spoke Wed­nes­day.

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