Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic focus on social science

priscilla zynga kauffman social good Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan share their own philanthropic passion. Facebook’s CEO and Chan’s wife are launching a new initiative called “Fwd.us” that seeks to provide a push…

Mark Zuckerberg's philanthropic focus on social science

priscilla zynga kauffman

social good Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan share their own philanthropic passion.

Facebook’s CEO and Chan’s wife are launching a new initiative called “Fwd.us” that seeks to provide a push in the social science research community to reduce gun violence and reduce climate change.

In addition to making donations of $300 million (£215 million) to a number of institutions and organisations – including the Harvard School of Public Health and Stanford University – Fwd.us is working on the theory that public policy and private investment can create a climate for science breakthroughs to happen.

Said Zuckerberg in a post, “If we want the country to thrive, we need a smart, diverse science and research community. We believe scientists must have the freedom to find answers, and that’s something we can change.”

To do that, Fwd.us is looking to partner with science institutions to give them the money and space they need to pursue research that is important to the country, the Fwd.us blog post continued. It is also looking to empower their existing research initiatives with support.

Looking at Fwd.us’ official website, its mission statement is vague enough to make a lot of money, and plenty of publications have touched on it. Read it for yourself:

“Fwd.us has a bold mission: to secure a brighter future for all Americans by boosting research, providing access to opportunity, and solving pressing social problems.”

Only Facebook’s website is getting the full impact of this statement, though. From their culture and news feed to their ubiquitous advertising, Facebook is the unequivocal leader in pushing online and offline brands to do good. And so it follows that Zuckerberg is giving hundreds of millions to scientists.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

This is just the start of this research initiative, however. As Zuckerberg pointed out in his post, Fwd.us’ goal is just to secure a brighter future, but also to build the research infrastructure to go along with it. In his letter to his daughters, for example, Zuckerberg revealed the American scene’s gun control problems by pointing to the 1992 murder of 12-year-old Karen Smith in Baltimore, an event he said led to creation of Maryland’s Licensing and Regulation Police, or LRP.

As he wrote, “if we want to fix gun violence, one of the first things we must do is ensure all our children have a safer school. If they don’t, we will always have a bigger problem.”

That’s the kind of social science funding the Fwd.us goal is seeking to improve.

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