- Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan donated $US800,000 to eight of their favourite restaurants in the Bay Area.
- The donations are helping business owners stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic but also highlight major wealth disparities in the US.
- When you do the maths, the couple’s donation is about the same as the median US family donating $US1.02.
- They have signed The Giving Pledge, promising to donate 99% of their Facebook shares over the course of their lives.
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Eight restaurants in the Bay Area received a windfall after Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $US100,000 dollars to each of their favourite spots, according to a report by SFGate.
It’s undoubtedly a nice gesture. The $US800,000 donation will likely help keep the restaurants afloat during the pandemic and is a solid cash boost for each of the owners. To their credit, the couple have never been stingy with their wealth – they have pledged to donate 99% of their Facebook shares before they die as part of The Giving Pledge.
But whenever a large donation like this is announced, it can be helpful to examine what a comparable donation would like from a nonbillionaire family. In this case, comparing the scale of Zuckerberg’s wealth with the wealth of the average US household shows just how deep economic divides run between billionaires and everyday Americans.
Zuckerberg’s net worth of $US76.3 billion means each donation of $US100,000 dollars is equivalent to about 0.000131% of his total wealth. For a typical US family with a net worth of $US97,300, as of 2016, an equivalent share of total wealth works out to $US0.13. The total donation of $US800,000 to the eight Bay Area restaurants is comparable to the median US family giving about $US1.02.
But the donations are a relief to restaurant owners that helps them forge ahead during the coronavirus pandemic and pay for expenses such as rent, payroll, and their own donations of free meals to healthcare workers and first responders, according to SFGate.
Other billionaires such as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have made similar contributions in the past.
Bezos was criticised after donating only $US690,000 to the Australian wildlife recovery because it was less than he made every five minutes in 2018. Dorsey recently announced he was donating $US1 billion toward a coronavirus relief fund, which, according to him, was about 28% of his net worth.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.