Facebook CEO Gives $100M to NJ Schools

I’ve been mulling a post about the potential impact on Facebook of the unflattering portrait of founder-CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the film The Social Network, which I’m eager to see. I’ve come to the conclusion that in the end it really won’t have much of an impact on Facebook (the company).

There’s been a lot of discussion on blogs and in the press about the accuracy of the film’s characterization of Zuckerberg and his ethics. A recent article by a Harvard contemporary very close to the founding of Facebook seems to confirm at least some of the negative depiction.

However, an article in the WSJ today reports that Zuck, as he’s affectionately called by insiders, has decided to donate $100 million to New Jersey schools:

Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook, is expected to announce a donation of $100 million to the Newark public school system this week, in a bold and aggressive bid to turn around one of the country’s worst performing school systems.

The article implies in the end that this is a PR move in part:

Mr. Zuckerberg’s pledge, his largest gift to date, comes as the company he founded battles to counteract a Hollywood film’s scathing depiction of the executive. “The Social Network,” which opens in wide U.S. release Oct. 1, portrays Mr. Zuckerberg as a conniving backstabber who may have stolen the idea for his social-networking site.

Whatever his motivations, whether totally or only partially altruistic, I cheer the move. BRAVO, BRAVO.

Andrew Carnegie was certainly no “good guy” on the way up, nor was JP Morgan or Rockefeller. Yet these men came to realize the value that their wealth could bring to others and the society at large. Bill Gates, now a great philanthropist, certainly had several “evil” moments as Microsoft CEO.

I’m not trying to be an apologist for any bad behavior in the past, but I commend Zuck for his decision and the likely positive impact it will have on the lives of many kids and teachers. Public education is a critical institution that has been increasingly maligned and neglected in this country.

If this donation is cynical, calculated or the product of narcissism somehow, I say let there be more of it.

Good show!

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2 Responses to “Facebook CEO Gives $100M to NJ Schools”

  1. earlpearl says at

    Greg:

    I just read that the Newark educational system has been under state control for 15 years.  That is atrocious; a statement of a failed local system.  Also it has an annual budget of $800 million.

    $100 million goes an incredibly long way.  The gift includes a change wherein the current Mayor and the state will share control, with the current governor stating he doesn’t like state control.

    It simply has to be a horrible system.   What a tragedy.

    That is a great gift.  Hopefully it does a lot of good to root out problems within that system.

    To hell with cynical comments.  That level of gift, if well used can help cure what must be horrendous problems that have kept the system under state control for so long.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    I agree with you.

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