AP071017188807Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says he picked education as his first major foray into philanthropy thanks in part to the influence of his girlfriend, Priscilla, according to an interview with TechCrunch. He explains the thought process that led to his $100 million gift to Newark schools in the interview:
I mean — so we've been dating for about seven years. When she graduated from school, she went and became a teacher. Now she's in medical school and she's studying to be a pediatrician. But this is just kind of a common thing that we've been really interested in — about education, kids. And, you know, the default path that we were on, we're just like, OK, a lot of other people wait until later on in their career to figure out how to give back. Then we decided — this is just like a year ago, maybe nine months ago, I said, Why should we wait? I mean, most people don't have this kind of success early on in life.
Zuckerberg, who just officially announced the gift on Oprah Winfrey's talk show Friday, has battled some bad PR lately over complaints about the company's privacy policies and over the buzzed-about movie "The Social Network," which paints him as a socially awkward and overly ambitious genius.
Some speculated that the gift was timed to the New York release of the film Friday, but the author of the Zuckerberg-approved Facebook book, David Kirkpatrick, writes in the Daily Beast that Zuckerberg did not want to time to Newark donation with the movie's release, as it would look "craven and obvious." (Meanwhile, a producer told New York magazine for a recent article that Kirkpatrick discussed being a consultant on the movie, but that Kirkpatrick was told that Zuckerberg wouldn't cooperate further on Kirkpatrick's book if the movie consultation proceeded.)Read More »from Zuckerberg explains why he chose Newark schools for big gift