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Could You Give Away Most of Your Money?

December 3rd, 2015

Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan and baby Max. Photo credit: Facebook handout

Do you get an allowance or make some money doing small jobs? If you do, you may have heard of the idea to spend only some of it, save some it … and maybe even donate some to people who need it more.

This week, the head of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, announced they were giving away 99% of their money from Facebook during their lives to help others! That alone is amazing considering most people donate about 3-5% of the money they have.

That means that if we had one dollar (100 cents), most of us would donate about 3-5 cents from that. The Chan/Zuckerberg family said they would donate the equivalent of 99 cents of every dollar. That’s incredibly generous!

It’s even more  jaw-dropping when you realize they’re donating about $45 Billion (with a B!). That’s $45,000,000,000!!!!

Don’t worry, they’ll still have about $455 million+ to live off of, but still!

They made this decision in part because they recently had a baby girl, Max, and thought about how lucky she was and what kind of world they’d like her to grow up in. They wrote a letter for her to read one day  and they shared it.

They noted that   “… in many ways the world is getting better. Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today.”

The problem they said is that, “Today we are robbed of the potential so many have to offer. The only way to achieve our full potential is to channel the talents, ideas and contributions of every person in the world.”

How will they change that? They haven’t said yet exactly but they some areas they want to concentrate on are:  “… personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”

It must be an amazing feeling to have that kind of money to spend on helping others. Mark Zuckerberg is the 8th richest person in the world so most of us will never know what that would be like.

But we don’t have to be super wealthy to make meaningful change. Sometimes change can come from … change — pennies, nickels, and dimes!

Nine-year old Joey Roth from Louisiana started saving up loose change he found around his house, in stores, on the street, anywhere … and he started putting it in a jar.

Joey Roth. Photo courtesy: Deborah Roth

He even asked the Tooth Fairy to donate some change in his letter to her after he lost a tooth! Talk about never missing an opportunity!

His collection, Jar For Change, has grown into a community-wide effort and he has raised over $10,000 all from people dropping coins into jars! The money he raises goes to helping mothers use iPads to be able to see their very sick babies (who are in a separate part of the hospital).

You can watch this news story about Joey here on Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s WFAB.  Joey was recently named one of the top young philanthropists in the country. A philanthropist is a person who helps others often by donating money. Go, Joey!

If you had $45 billion to help others, what would you spend it on?

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