Facebook CEO to donate $100 million to troubled school district

by Shannon Harris on September 24, 2010

Facebook seems to be everywhere in the news these days and with more than 500 million users worldwide, it's no wonder. But this week the company was in the spotlight for a different reason – giving $100 million to the troubled Newark, New Jersey, school district.

Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old CEO of Facebook has taken some heat lately. He's about to be profiled (and not in the best possible light) in the Aaron Sorken-penned film "The Social Network." He's facing a lawsuit claiming majority ownership of the site. And he continues to be the poster child for the latest fight over online privacy.

But this week the biggest news coming from Facebook was the word that Zuckerberg would donate $100 million into the school district of Newark as part of what is to be called the Start Up Education Foundation.

Zuckerberg is slated to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show today along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, where the formal announcement will be made.

Some have questioned the timing of the donation as today is also the release of The Social Network at the New York Film Festival. According to reviews, the paints Zuckerberg as a manipulative and back-stabbing entrepreneur. But those involved with the donation say there was no ulterior motive in Zuckerberg's philanthropic efforts.

The Star Ledger notes that Winfrey said during the taping of today's episode that Zuckerberg had asked that his donation be anonymous but that she and Booker convinced the Facebook CEO to appear on the show.

Newark could use the help with Chrisie calling the district's dropout rate of almost 50 percent "an obscenity."

"I talked during my campaign about changing the education system in Newark and that's something I'm still committed to," he told the Star Ledger.

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