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Facebook's Zuckerberg gives a boatload of cash to charity

In his largest donation to date, the social network's CEO donates nearly $500 million to a local foundation to focus on projects in health and education.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. James Martin/CNET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he let go of nearly $500 million today by donating it to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

This nonprofit foundation focuses on grant giving to serve the community in the San Francisco peninsula. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post today that he, his wife, Priscilla Chan, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation will work together to "look for areas in education and health to focus on."

The hefty sum of cash comes as a gift of 18 million Facebook shares, which is valued at more than $498 million, based on the social network's closing stock price of $27.71 today. This is Zuckerberg's largest donation to date, according to the Associated Press.

Zuckerberg is no stranger to charitable giving. In 2010, he and Chan signed The Giving Pledge, which is a campaign led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to get the richest people in the U.S. to donate most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. Zuckerberg's first major project was giving $100 million in Facebook stock to public schools in Newark, N.J., in 2010.

"I'm really proud of the work we've done there, helping leaders like Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Cory Booker sign the most progressive teachers contract in our country, opening four new district high schools, 11 new charter schools and more," he said in his Facebook post. "I'm hopeful we'll be able to have as positive an impact in our next set of projects."