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Video: Zuckerberg gift: Philanthropy or damage control?

  1. Transcript of: Zuckerberg gift: Philanthropy or damage control?

    MATT LAUER, co-host: As we first told you on Thursday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is pledging to donate $100 million to one school district in New Jersey . Is it pure generosity or is it image-building? NBC 's Mara Schiavocampo is in Newark , New Jersey , with more. Mara , good morning to you.

    MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO reporting: Well, good morning, Matt. That announcement will have a big impact on the schools here in Newark . Twenty-six -year-old billionaire Zuckerberg will make an unprecedented gift later this morning as a guest on " The Oprah Winfrey Show ."

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: When it comes to making big gift announcements, there's no better venue than " The Oprah Winfrey Show ."

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: And today the tradition continues. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is expected to come bearing gifts, announcing a $100 million donation to the deeply troubled public school system in Newark , New Jersey , joined by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark 's charismatic mayor, Cory Booker . It is the largest known public donation ever by Zuckerberg , worth an estimated $6.7 billion. He has no ties to New Jersey or Newark , causing some to wonder if this very big gift could be a very big public relations maneuver.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: The announcement comes exactly one week before the movie "The Social Network" hits theaters to rave reviews, depicting the alleged drama behind Facebook 's founding, and portraying Zuckerberg as a socially awkward, unscrupulous computer geek who stole the idea for Facebook from his classmates. Facebook has called the movie fiction. But it's just the latest in bad publicity.

    Ms. MARVET BRITTO (PR Brand Strategist): The explosive impact of a $100 million donation will far outweigh any impact that a movie will make, simply because the donation will be the reality of Mark Zuckerberg .

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: The charitable gift will definitely help more than just Zuckerberg 's image.

    Mayor CORY BOOKER (Mayor of Newark, New Jersey): We deserve a city where our children cannot just survive but thrive.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: Newark has one of the country's worst performing school districts , despite the fact that they already spend plenty of money on education, about $20,000 a year per student, more than tuition to elite private schools. Mr. DERRELL BRADFORD (Executive Director, "Excellent Education For Everyone"): The concern is giving the same people more money will give you the same result.

    SCHIAVOCAMPO: But $100 million can't hurt, and will likely help the controversial king of Facebook make a few new friends. Sources close to Zuckerberg deny the donation is a publicity stunt to draw attention away from the Facebook movie. Officials here in Newark hope it will attract matching donations, eventually bringing $200 million to the schools. It's also reportedly the first installment in a larger education foundation


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