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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Donates $500 Million to Charity

DOWN: Mark Zuckerberg

The tech entrepreneur's gift to support health and education causes is the second largest in 2012.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are donating almost $500 million in company stock to a Silicon Valley charity.

The tech entrepreneur announced the donation of 18 million shares on his personal Facebook page on Tuesday. 

Based on that day’s closing price, the stock is worth $498.9 million.

PHOTOS: THR's Philanthropy Issue

The donation is the second largest of the year, following Warren Buffet's $2.85 billion (spread over three gifts) and ahead of Paul Allen's $300 million gift.

The money is going to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to support health and education causes. 

SVCF helps donors distribute their money. It oversaw the distribution of Zuckerberg’s 2010 $100 million gift to the Newark, N.J., public schools. 

Foundation CEO Emmett Carlson issued a statement calling Zuckerberg’s donation a “generous gift” that will “inspire others in Silicon Valley and around the globe to give back and make the world a better place.

By Wednesday morning, his Facebook post about the gift had recorded over 190,000 likes.

Kirk Hanson, the executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, told Silicon Valley News the gift was a "big deal."

He noted that some have expressed concerns that the "next generation may not be as involved in philanthropy, so it is very important and very symbolic that he has made this commitment."

Zuckerberg signed Buffet’s Giving Pledge in 2010, promising to donate the majority of his money to charity.

The news comes as Facebook-owned Instagram is under fire from users for changes in its terms of service that appear to allow the photo-sharing site to put users' pictures in advertisements.