Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old Facebook founder and the biggest climber on this year’s Forbes 400, has just agreed to donate $100 million to Newark’s troubled public schools.
The tech whiz kid is expected to appear on fellow Forbes billionaire Oprah Winfrey’s show tomorrow to announce the gift, alongside Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The New York Times reports that Zuckerberg’s donation will allow Booker to start redesigning the failing Newark school system, taking some control from the state.
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This is the first time Zuckerberg has made a large-scale public charitable donation. He joins the ranks of other Forbes tech billionaires known for their philanthropy. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the richest man in America for the 17th year in a row, is also the most generous person on the planet: he’s cut checks totaling $28 billion to date. He and his wife launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1994, when Gates was 38 – a dinosaur compared to Zuckerberg – with an initial gift of $94 million.