Could Mark Zuckerberg become the next great American philanthropist, ala Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? The world's youngest-ever billionaire
($6.9 billion at age 26) is making his first move towards grand generosity with a $100 million donation to the crumbling Newark public school system.
The Facebook founder and CEO will announce the gift on Oprah on Sept. 24 — but according to Fast Company's Dan Nosowitz
, this could be just the initial round of a massive cash infusion for the Newark public school system:
"Zuckerberg is working with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to secure a matching $100 million from various private foundations," he writes "That $200 million would amount to well over 20 percent of the Newark public school system's total budget. All of which makes Facebook seem worth its stellar valuation."
Of course, some are wondering if the 26-year-old's gift has anything to do with the less-than-flattering light a new movie, "The Social Network," throws on the young CEO. According to All Things D's
Peter Kafka, "the film portrays him as an insecure jerk who screws over people and becomes a much-richer insecure jerk."
But perhaps we should be framing this donation around a movie of a different name called "Waiting for Superman
." This documentary, directed by David Guggenheim (of "Inconvenient Truth" fame), focuses on the U.S. public school system and how it's affecting our children. Zuckerberg's generosity provides the type of footnote the movie hopes to inspire to prevent what it calls a "hidden catastrophe spreading quietly."
So sure, it's easy to be cynical and look for some kind of motive behind all this, but at the end of the day this is a stunning donation that will improve the lives of many. In that light, it's hard to find any reason not to "like" this first great gift from the guy with 500 million friends.