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Mark Zuckerberg Donates a Whopping $500 Million for Education and Health Improvements

Two years ago, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg  signed The Giving Pledge, a public commitment to give away 50% of his wealth or more during his lifetime or upon his death. The young tech titan just took the next step toward meeting that pledge.

On his Facebook page Tuesday, the $12.5 billion CEO announced that he and his wife Priscilla Chan donated 18 million of his shares in Facebook to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. This comes after Zuckerberg pledged $100 million to Startup Education in 2010 to improve Newark schools.

“Together, we will look for areas in education and health to focus on next,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “I’m hopeful we’ll be able to have as positive an impact in our next set of projects.”

The shares have already been donated to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As of Facebook’s $27.71 closing price on Tuesday, the gift is worth a little more than $498 million, making it the largest single philanthropic donation to education this year.

“This is great news for people who are passionate about improving public education,” said Jen Holleran, executive director of Startup Education, which is a supporting organization of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “Mark’s commitment to dramatically improving the public schools in Newark has been making exciting progress, and we’re thrilled to know that his larger dedication to philanthropy is continuing.”

It remains unclear how the foundation will use the gift. According to its website, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Silicon Valley Community Foundation identifies “emerging challenges in our region” and provides “investment management of the funds individual and corporate donors entrust to us.” In 2011, the foundation had $2 billion of assets under management and had received $470 million in contributions for the year…

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