Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC
Company typePrivate
Founded1 December 2015; 8 years ago (2015-12-01)
HeadquartersRedwood City, California, US
Key people
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Edit this at Wikidata
Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg (Prague, 2013).

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is an organization established and owned by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan with an investment of 99 percent of the couple's wealth from their Facebook shares over their lifetime.[1][2][3] The CZI is set up as a limited liability company (LLC) and is an example of Philanthrocapitalism. CZI has been deemed likely to be "one of the most well-funded Philanthropies in human history".[4] Its creation was announced on 1 December 2015, for the birth of their daughter, Maxima Chan Zuckerberg.[1] Priscilla Chan has said that her background as a child of immigrant refugees and experience as a teacher and pediatrician for vulnerable children influences how she approaches the philanthropy's work in science, education, immigration reform, housing, criminal justice, and other local issues.[4]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's main areas of work include Science, Education, and Justice and Opportunity, which focuses on promoting housing affordability, criminal justice reform, and immigration reform. The mission of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is to "build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone"[5] and to "advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy".[1]

In 2017, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative pre-leased a 102,079 square foot portion of the new Broadway Station development in downtown Redwood City, California where it is headquartered.[6]



The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invested $24 million in Andela, a startup focused on training software developers in Africa through a bootcamp and four-year fellowship program which pairs their trainees with U.S. companies needing development help. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative led the company's Series B funding.[7]

In September 2016, Indian education startup Byju's's announced raising $50 million in a round co-led by The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Sequoia Capital, along with investors Sofina, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Times Internet. The funding has been raised to fuel their international expansion.[8][9]

On 6 March 2018, the Harvard Gazette published that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative would pledge $30 million to the Reach Every Reader project. Both Harvard's President Drew Faust and MIT's President L. Rafael Reif were quoted in the article, as was Priscilla Chan, HGSE Dean James E. Ryan, and MIT's Sanjay Sarma, VP for Open Learning at MIT, and others. The article states: "To make significant progress in early literacy at scale, the team will engage in a rigorous, scientific approach to personalized diagnosis and intervention. They will develop and test a scalable, web-based screening tool for reading difficulties that diagnoses the underlying causes, and a set of targeted home/school interventions that change the way we approach intervention for young children with reading difficulties."[10]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is supporting the development of a civic tech talent pipeline by funding Coding it Forward.[11]

The Initiative has funded a free online learning platform, Summit Learning, that is based on a personalized learning philosophy. The use of the platform in some schools have led to concerns about efficacy and student privacy.[12]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has funded a number of small-scale, grassroots initiatives to better understand the "physical, mental, social and emotional health and development of students as a way to improve academic success," as well as new efforts to make Native American or Black culture more embedded in students' curriculums. Chan said "We have to be really thoughtful about how we can be helpful and build a collective community alongside others and behind practitioners and school leaders" and that educational initiatives must be responsive to local needs because "there is not one thing that's going to solve everything."[13]

In May 2022, the Chan Zuckerberg initiative announced grants totalling more than $4 million in support education communities. The grants will support a range of professional learning, mentoring and wellness practices to support teacher retention. The grants include $1 million donations to FuelED, The Teacher well, Profound Gentlemen, and $500,000 donations to Profound Ladies and Black Male Educators Alliance of Michigan.[14]

Housing and Economic Opportunity

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in partnership with The San Francisco Foundation and other philanthropic, business, and health organizations, created the Partnership for the Bay's Future in 2019 to "preserve, produce, and protect affordable housing". The Partnership includes a $500+ million fund for subsidized affordable housing units in the Bay Area, as well as grants for local governments and community organizations to work together to pass local housing legislation that protects tenants and promotes affordability.[15]

On 1 October 2018, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced it was helping to launch Opportunity Insights, a new non-partisan, not-for-profit research and policy institute focused on improving economic opportunity led by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Nathaniel Hendren, leading economists from Harvard University and Brown University. The research aims to "better understand the drivers of poverty as well as solutions that can foster greater economic mobility and security for more families".[16]


The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative supported the failed campaign for California Proposition 15, which would have adjusted the original Proposition 13, for the 2020 general election.[17]

In addition, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative opposed the failed 2020 California Proposition 20, a measure which would have led to stricter sentencing and parole laws.[18]

Following electoral defeats of CZI-backed initiatives in 2020, the CZI announced a restructuring that would no longer fund political campaigns directly.[19]

Scientific research

In September 2016, CZI announced its new science program, Chan Zuckerberg Science, with $3 billion in investment over the next decade, with Cornelia Bargmann of Rockefeller University announced as the first president of science, to begin 1 October 2016. The goal of the program is to help cure, manage, or prevent all disease by the year 2100. $600 million of the $3 billion would be spent on Biohub, a location in San Francisco's Mission Bay District near the University of California, San Francisco, to allow for easy interaction and collaboration between scientists at University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; and other universities in the area, as well as engineers and others.[20][21] Commentators saw the move as audacious but a worthwhile goal, while noting that the amount of funding is small relative to overall money spent on biomedical research.[22][23] This funding is equal to roughly 2% of the NIH budget earmarked for basic research over the same time frame.[24] Any patents generated at Biohub would be jointly owned by Biohub and the discoverer's home institution.[25]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's first acquisition took place in January 2017 with the acquisition of Meta, a Toronto-based artificial intelligence scientific literature search engine that helps scientists collaborate on solutions and accelerates the dissemination of new scientific research.[26] On October 28, 2021, CZI announced the sunset of Meta, with a proposed shutdown date of March 31, 2022.[27]

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was a founding sponsor of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence at Toronto's MaRS Discovery District in March 2017.[28]

COVID-19 response

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invested heavily in coronavirus research and response following the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. The organization has contributed multiple grants to various universities and partnerships studying how the coronavirus spreads and possible treatments or vaccines. The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub partnered with Stanford and UCSF to help to significantly increase free testing in the Bay Area starting in March 2020.[29] In April 2020, CZI joined the Government of the United Kingdom and Madonna in pledging funding for the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a public-private partnership led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and Mastercard.[30]

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub announced in July 2020 that it would partner with all 58 California county departments of public health to provide free genomic sequencing of positive coronavirus samples to better understand how the virus is spreading and inform policy decisions.[31]

Open software and open science

CZI workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina to discuss open science in computational biology in Latin America

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has also invested in the development and maintenance of open-source scientific software, with a pledge of US$40 million over 3 years for its Essential Open Source Software for Science (EOSS) program.[32] CZI's Open Science program also supports the preprint servers medRxiv and BioRxiv."[33][34] Grants included support to projects such as ScientificPython and the visualization library matplotlib.[35][36] Besides directly funding projects, CZI's Open Science division organizes workshops with grantees and stakeholders outside the United States to foster "global participation in open biomedical research".[37]

Company form and taxation

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not a charitable trust or a private foundation but a limited liability company, and is therefore not a tax-exempt organization as many philanthropies are. As an LLC, the organization has more flexibility in how it addresses its goals, and can invest in for-profit startup companies,[38][39] can spend money on advocacy initiatives and lobbying,[38][40] can make political donations,[38][40][41] does not have to disclose the pay of its top five executives[40] and has fewer other transparency requirements compared to a charitable trust.[38][39][40][41] Under this legal structure, as Forbes wrote it, "Zuckerberg will still control the Facebook shares owned by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative".[40][41] The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative publicly lists its grants, a level of transparency not required for an LLC. It has pledged to release software developed by it or its grantees under open-source licenses.[42]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Devon Maloney, "Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg's 99% pledge is born with strings attached" Archived 22 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, Wednesday 2 December 2015 (page visited on 3 December 2015).
  2. ^ Facebook's CEO and wife to give 99 percent of shares to their new foundation Archived 4 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters, 2 December 2015.
  3. ^ (in German) Dreimal Kölner Dom: So groß ist Zuckerbergs Milliardenspende Archived 6 June 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Der Spiegel, 2 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b Wagner, Kurt (10 July 2017). "Priscilla Chan is running one of the most ambitious philanthropies in the world". Vox Recode. Archived from the original on 2 February 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Our Approach". Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative signs lease in Lane Partners' new Redwood City building". Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  7. ^ Michelle Maisto, "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Selects Andela for $24M Investment,"[permanent dead link] eWeek, 16 June 2016, (page visited 16 June 2016)
  8. ^ Heath, Alex (8 September 2016). "Mark Zuckerberg leads $50 million investment in Indian education startup". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 21 July 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  9. ^ Singh, Manish (9 September 2016). "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invests in Indian startup that teaches kids online". Mashable. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  10. ^ "$30M grant launches Reach Every Reader in effort to end literacy crisis". Harvard Gazette. 6 March 2018. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
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  12. ^ "Students protest Zuckerberg-backed digital learning program and ask him: 'What gives you this right?'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  13. ^ Camera, Lauren (18 February 2020). "New Round of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Grants Steers Clear of Ed Tech". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on 13 March 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awards $4 million for teacher well-being". Philanthropy News Digest. 9 May 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  15. ^ Chadha, Madhur (24 January 2019). "The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has a $500 million plan to ease the Bay Area housing crisis". Fast Company. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
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  17. ^ Bradshaw, Kate (12 July 2020). "Prop. 13 reform could be big boost to county's tax revenue, study says". Palo Alto Online. Archived from the original on 5 August 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
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  22. ^ Brink, Susan (23 September 2016). "What's The Prognosis For $3 Billion Zuckerberg Health Plan?". NPR. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  23. ^ Youde, Jeremy (4 October 2016). "Here's what is promising, and troubling, about Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's plan to 'cure all diseases'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  24. ^ Zhang, Sarah (22 September 2016). "The Zuckerberg Chan Initiative Isn't as Crazy as It Sounds". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 16 November 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  25. ^ Maxmen, Amy (16 February 2017). "'Riskiest ideas' win $50 million from Chan Zuckerberg Biohub". Nature News. 542 (7641): 280–281. Bibcode:2017Natur.542..280M. doi:10.1038/nature.2017.21440. PMID 28202988.
  26. ^ "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative makes first buy, a Canadian artificial intelligence startup". Archived from the original on 5 July 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  27. ^ Chan Zuckerberg Science Initiative, Meta Transition, archived from the original on 17 December 2021, retrieved 28 October 2021
  28. ^ Williams, Kylie (30 March 2017). "News release: New Artificial Intelligence Research Institute Launched in Toronto". Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Archived from the original on 5 July 2023. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  29. ^ Peters, Jay (20 March 2020). "Mark Zuckerberg's philanthropy groups work to bring at least 1,000 coronavirus tests per day to Bay Area". The Verge. Archived from the original on 15 June 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  30. ^ Au-Yeung, Angel (3 April 2020). "A Bill Gates-Backed Accelerator For COVID-19 Therapeutics Treatment Partners With Madonna And Mark Zuckerberg's Chan Zuckerberg Initiative". Forbes. Archived from the original on 18 January 2022. Retrieved 10 September 2023.
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  32. ^ Hutson, Matthew (12 January 2023). "Hunting for the best bioscience software tool? Check this database". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00053-w.
  33. ^ "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funds medRxiv". medRxiv. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
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  35. ^ "Scientific Python blog - Scientific Python awarded CZI grant to improve communications infrastructure & accessibility". Retrieved 11 May 2023.
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  37. ^ "Accelerating Open Science in Latin America". Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
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  41. ^ a b c John Cassidy, "Mark Zuckerberg and the Rise of Philanthrocapitalism" Archived 22 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The New Yorker, 2 December 2015 (page visited on 4 December 2015).
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