- Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan donated $800,000 to eight of their favorite restaurants in the Bay area.
- The donations are helping business owners stay afloat during the coronavirus but also highlight major wealth disparities in the US.
- When you do the math, the Zuckerbergs’ donation is about the same as the median US family donating $1.02.
- The Zuckerbergs have signed The Giving Pledge, promising to donate 99% of his Facebook shares over the course of their life.
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Eight restaurants in the Bay Area received a windfall after Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $100,000 dollars to each of their favorite eateries, according to a report by SFGate.
It’s undoubtedly a nice gesture. The $800,000 donation will likely help keep the restaurants afloat during the pandemic and is a solid boost of cash for each of the restaurant owners. To their credit, the Zuckerbergs have never been stingy with their wealth — they’ve 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 non-billionaire family. In this case, comparing the scale of Zuckerberg’s wealth to the wealth of the average US household shows just how deep economic divides run between billionaires and everyday Americans.
Zuckerberg’s net worth of $76.3 billion means each donation of $100,000 dollars is equivalent to around 0.000131% of his total wealth. For a typical US family with a net worth of $97,300 as of 2016, an equivalent share of total wealth works out to around 13 cents. The total donation of $800,000 to the eight Bay Area restaurants is comparable to the median US family giving about $1.02.
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But the donations are a relief to restaurant owners, helping them forge ahead during the coronavirus pandemic and fill expenses such as rent, payroll, as well as their own donation of free meals to health care workers and first responders, according to SFGate.
Other billionaires such as Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey have made similar contributions in the past.
Bezos was criticized after only donating $690,000 to the Australian wildlife recovery because it was less than he made every 5 minutes in 2018. Dorsey recently announced he was donating $1 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 for comment.
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