Mark Zuckerberg, one of two 26 year old “accidental billionaires” who founded Facebook, just donated $100 million to Newark New Jersey public schools through his new foundation, Startup: Education. He went on Oprah Friday to talk about why he decided not to donate anonymously, in the hopes of encouraging others to donate.
The big donation splash occurred one week before the release of a movie about the early years of Facebook, called “The Social Network.” The movie is based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich. Some eyebrows are raised about the timing of the good buzz emanating from his mega donation, so close to the bad buzz about Zuckerberg purportedly emanating from the movie about Facebook.
Other eyebrows are in place, commending Zuckerberg no matter what his motivation. Newark Mayor Cory Booker reports that “50 percent of high school students in Newark do not graduate.” The donation from Startup makes a new education plan possible in Newark and New Jersey, one that will hopefully inspire education reform nationwide.
Zuckerberg is 35th on Forbes 400 list of richest Americans this year. (Last year he was only 158th.) His net worth is estimated at $6.9 billion. He and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are Forbes youngest billionaires. Facebook was founded in 2004 when Zuckerberg was 20 years old studying computer science at Harvard.