Facebook Inc. (FB) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg may have dismissed talk that he will make a run for the U.S. presidency in 2020, but that hasn’t stopped the philanthropist head of the world’s largest social media company from doing some social good with his massive fortune.
Earlier this month, Zuckerberg revealed he will sell as many as 75 million shares of the company, valued at roughly $12 billion, during the course of the next 18 months to fund the efforts of its Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Given the outspoken CEO’s stance on all sorts of social issues, it's not surprising the money will bankroll progressive causes, with a big chunk going to prison reform, reported CNBC. The three groups that will get dollars from the charity are focused on reforming the country's prisons and all contend the rate of incarceration in the U.S. hurts economic growth and human development. (See more: Facebook: Zuckerberg Sold $1B in Stock This Year.)
Justice for All?
Proceeds from the stock sale will go to, among others, the Alliance for Safety and Justice, which was launched last year with a stated goal of reducing incarceration. The group advocates reform via education and advocacy. Then there is the JustLeadershipUSA advocacy group, which is focused on cutting the U.S. prison population in half by 2030. The third group focused on prison reform that will get funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is FAMM, which calls itself the “most effective sentencing reform advocacy group in the U.S.” It is centered on getting so-called smart sentencing laws passed by the government. Among other social issues, the charity will fund groups calling for immigration reform, affordable housing as well as improved standards for investigating sexual violence, noted CNBC. David Plouffe, head of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and a former Obama campaign manager, said earlier this month the charity is focused on grassroots movements aimed at sustainable social change.
At the same time that Zuckerberg is gearing a higher profile, President Donald Trump is slamming the company, calling it anti-Trump for cooperating with the special counsel in the investigation into Russian campaign meddling in 2016. In a tweet on Wednesday, the president proclaimed, “Facebook was always anti-Trump. The Networks were always anti-Trump hence, Fake News, @nytimes (apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion? ... But the people were Pro-Trump! Virtually no President has accomplished what we have accomplished in the first 9 months—and economy roaring.” That may spark more culture wars in the country but it did little to impact the high-flying stock, which is up more than 40% so far this year. Recently it was up 2.3% or $3.90 to $168.11 a share.