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Facebook CEO Zuckerberg donates $500 million in stock to charity

Image: Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is donating nearly $500 million in company stock to charity in order to promote education and health initiatives.BRIAN SNYDER / Reuters

It's quite the Christmas gift. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is donating nearly $500 million in company stock to charity in order to promote education and health initiatives. 

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to NBC News the gift of 18 million shares valued at their Tuesday closing price of $498,780,000. The sum was first announced by Zuckerberg via a status update on his Facebook page on Tuesday. The recipient is the nonprofit Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which helps donors manage and identify charitable funds that are in line with their philanthropic passions. 

This gift is Zuckerberg's biggest ever. Before Facebook went public in 2010, he gave $100 million in company stock to Newark, N.J., public school districts. That same year, he signed The Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett, where the world's wealthiest individuals commit to giving away most of their fortunes to charitable efforts. 

In the status update, Zuckerberg wrote that the donation was " in order to lay the foundation for new projects" and that he is "hopeful we'll be able to have as positive an impact in our next set of projects."