Talking or Walking?

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According to an article this week in the Star Tribune, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to give away “most” of his fortune during his lifetime or after he dies. The 26-year-old social media mega-mind is just one of 17 on the list of some of America’s richest people who have pledged to do the same with their fortunes. The article mentions the others on the list, such as CNN’s Ted Turner and Bill Gates of Microsoft. One reason that billionaire Zuckerberg stands out on the list is because he and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, 26, are the two youngest individuals to make the pledge.

Who will be walking away with the donated money?

“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?” Zuckerberg said in a statement published by the Star Tribune. “With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.”

While taking a cynical look at the pledge list is probably not a fair viewpoint, it is still important to ask the question, “Is anyone going to follow up with these pledges?” Or better yet, “Zuckerberg is talking the talk, but will he walk the walk?” Since the article points out that “the pledge is not a formal contract,”  Zuckerberg could retract his pledge at any time without any consequences. That would make this entire situation nothing more than just an excellent publicity stunt to put Zuckerberg and Facebook in a positive light for a stronger and more favorable public image.

Thankfully, Zuckerberg is helping to douse any doubts by proving that he takes the pledge seriously. He has already been working with the Newark school system to give them $100 million through his Startup: Education foundation, which he established as part of the donation. He will give the $100 million in the form of Facebook shares, which the foundation will be responsible for selling to raise cash.

So what do you think about the pledges? Is there more talking than there will be walking?

12.10.2010

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