Sheryl Sandberg donates $100m in shares to charity

Facebook billionaire has pledged to give away most of her wealth in her lifetime

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, supports initiatives that improve rights for women and assist the grief-stricken. Photograph: Bloomberg

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, supports initiatives that improve rights for women and assist the grief-stricken. Photograph: Bloomberg

 

Facebook billionaire Sheryl Sandberg has placed more than $100 million (€94 million) worth of her stock into a fund for philanthropic donations, as she prepares to give to charities and non-profits that work on improving rights for women, supporting the grief-stricken and alleviating poverty.

Ms Sandberg, who has been chief operating officer at Facebook since before it went public, has transferred 880,000 shares worth $103 million at Wednesday’s price, into a donor-advised fund, according to filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. This gift follows a donation last year of about 290,000 Facebook shares.

She has signed the “Giving Pledge” where billionaires promise to give away the majority of their wealth within their own lifetime.

Ms Sandberg has become famous outside of her role at the social network after Lean In, her book on women’s empowerment at work, became a bestseller and she started an organisation to promote ambitious professional women.

Ms Sandberg also lost her husband Dave Goldberg, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur in 2015 and is now writing a book called Option B about grief and founding an eponymous organisation to help people coping with the loss of loved ones.

Fund

The donations, to be put in a fund renamed the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, will be used to fund both LeanIn.org and OptionB.org. On Tuesday, known as “Giving Tuesday” in the US as charities encourage gifts after Thanksgiving, Ms Sandberg wrote on Facebook that she supports the organisations fighting against hunger including Feeding America, a network of food banks, and her local food bank, Second Harvest Food Bank, where she volunteers with her children.

“This is a cause close to my heart,” she wrote. “Forty-two million people in the US – including 13 million children – may face an empty plate this holiday season.

Facebook partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to match up to $1million in donations raised by fundraising campaigns on the social network, with up to $1,000 for each fundraiser.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook chief executive, has promised to donate 99 per cent of his Facebook shares to good causes, from charities to long-term investments in research and start-ups. Last year, shortly after the birth of his first child, he and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which plans to focus on personalised learning, curing disease and connecting people.

-(Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016)