One Silicon Valley charity got a huge Christmas present.
On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said (on his Facebook page, no less) that he is donating nearly $500 million in stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation with the aim of funding health and education issues.
"Two years ago, Priscilla and I signed The Giving Pledge," he wrote in his post, "committing to donate the majority of the money we earn to charity."
The foundation, headquartered in Mountain View, not too far away from Facebook in Menlo Park, now owns 18 million Facebook shares, valued at $498.8 million based on their Tuesday closing price.
The foundation touts itself as a place to help donors focus on their "charitable passions" and where "innovative philanthropic solutions" are offered to life's challenging problems. In 2011, the foundation had $2 billion in assets under management, and $470 million in contributions received.
CEO Emmett D. Carson was declining all media interviews. In a statement, he said, "Mark’s generous gift will change lives and inspire others in Silicon Valley and around the globe to give back and make the world a better place. We are pleased and honored that he has chosen to continue to partner with us to help him achieve his philanthropic goals.”
Carson uttered similar sentiments on Zuckerberg's Facebook post, adding, "This is a great inspiration for the next generation of philanthropists."
The foundation has won numerous awards for its charitable giving. In five years, the group has received more than $1 billion in contributions — not including Zuckerberg's — and awarded more than $1 billion grants locally and throughout the world.
This is Zuckerberg's largest donation to date. He pledged $100 million in Facebook stock to Newark, N.J., public schools in 2010, before his company went public earlier this year.
Later in 2010, he joined Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. CEO Warren Buffett to get the country's richest people to donate most of their wealth. His wife, Priscilla Chan, joined with him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.