Zuckerberg and wife make largest 2013 U.S. donation

(JTA) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are responsible for the largest on-record charitable donation in the United States in 2013.

For the second straight year, Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan gave away 18 million Facebook shares — a gift worth more than $970 million — to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in December, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported recently in its annual roundup of biggest donors.

The donation was the largest charitable gift on public record in 2013, and marked the first time that donors under the age of 30 were responsible for the year’s largest donation.

Zuckerberg and Chan’s 2013 donation was equal in shares to the gift the couple gave the same foundation in December 2012. That gift was valued at just under $500 million at the time, but the success of Facebook’s stock over the past 12 months more than doubled the value of the 2013 donation, the news website Mashable reported.

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation serves as a gatekeeper to a number of charitable causes. In 2013, the foundation awarded more than 10,000 grants to over 29 different countries, according to its website.

Nike Chairman Phil Knight and his wife, Penelope, were responsible for the second-largest donation on public record in 2013: a $500 million pledge to the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation for cancer research.

Of the top 16 donors occupying the top 10 spots on the list — six were tied for 10th place — eight are Jewish. In addition to Zuckerberg, former New York mayor and media magnate Michael Bloomberg was third, pledging $350 million to Johns Hopkins University; real estate developer Stephen Ross was fifth, pledging $200 million to the University of Michigan; real estate heiress Muriel Block was sixth, bequesting $160 million to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University; and Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder of communications giant Qualcomm, and his wife were eighth, pledging $133 million to Cornell NYC Tech.

Among those tied for 10th with $100 million pledges were investor Ronald Perelman (Columbia Business School), financier Stephen Schwarzman (Tsinghua University); and real estate heiress Deborah Joy Simon (Mercersburg Academy).

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