Mark Zuckerberg is incredibly wealthy, which is why he and his wife Priscilla Chan have started a foundation to give a lot of that wealth away to help others. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is the organization that the Facebook CEO is using to give away 99% of his wealth, which is going to require a lot of organization.
Luckily, they’ve just brought David Plouffe on board, who ran President Obama’s 2008 election campaign. Plouffe joins Ken Mehlman, who worked as a campaign manager for George W. Bush.
At the Initiative, Plouffe will be in charge of policy and advocacy, while Mehlman will be in charge of the policy advisory board. They’ve worked together in the past on things like marriage equality (despite coming from different sides of the political isle) so it stands to reason that the Initiative will be able to put its money to good use.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative certainly has a lot of resources, but at a certain scale that can be daunting, especially since it’s a foundation intent on helping other nonprofits pursue their missions. It’s possible, with such a group, to spread those resources too thin and try to throw money at every problem. But solid leadership can help prevent that.
It will be interesting to see how these two individuals, among others, steer the resources they’ve been granted. Chan and Zuckerberg have expressed interest in improving education and curing diseases, which is itself a pretty broad mandate for the Initiative, which is precisely why it needs strong leadership.
And on top of that, it’s been a rough time for foundations named after wealthy people, with both the Trump Foundation and the Eric Trump Foundation coming under fire for a myriad of reasons. It will be up to the Initiative’s leadership to ensure that they don’t embarrass themselves, and that the huge amount of wealth they’ve been trusted with actually goes to it’s intended recipients.
Image courtesy of Corey Harris at Flickr Creative Commons.