- Mark Zuckerberg is selling up to $13 billion of Facebook shares to fund the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which has the audacious goal of curing, preventing, or managing all diseases “in our children’s lifetime.”
- Among the initiative’s projects are investments in the Human Cell Atlas, which aims to map out every single cell in the human body, and the Biohub, which joins researchers from the three major academic research institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Zuckerberg shows up regularly, particularly for scientific briefings, but Chan runs it day to day.
Board meetings at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a research center backed by Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla Chan and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, always kick off in the same way.
Each quarter, a promising young scientist funded by the Biohub is invited to a conference room at the Palo Alto offices of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the family’s philanthropic investment group. That’s where Zuckerberg takes a hiatus from email to spend a little time learning about science.
Last April, that scientist was Markita Landry, a chemical engineer who runs a lab at UC Berkeley. Landry was among the first researchers to get funding from the Biohub for a multi-year effort to develop tools to measure the chemistry of the brain. Landry shared some of her progress so far. Then Zuckerberg chimed in with a series of questions about the time it would take for her technology to be implemented, and the kind of influence it would have on human lives.
According to wikipedia: “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not a charitable trust or a private foundation but a limited liability company which can be for-profit, can spend money on lobbying, can make political donations, does not have to disclose its pay to its top five executives and has fewer other transparency requirements compared to a charitable trust. ”
So he’s pulling money from Facebook to put in a business that’s essentially his personal bank account. All this while setting the stage for a presidential run.