Although Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg’s last name is synonymous with Facebook, she’s done more than support the biggest social media company in the world.
After graduating from Harvard with a degree in biology and starting her medical career in 2012, Priscilla pushed the boundaries of what it meant to help people and launched the philanthropic company, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, with her husband, Mark Zuckerberg.
Together, the pair have contributed billions of dollars to support medical, education and environmental research since starting the organization in 2015.
Thanks to Priscilla’s dedication to improving the future, unicorn mentality and tremendous work ethic, she’s accumulated a net worth of over $14 million.
Here, discover 10 facts you haven’t heard about philanthropist Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg!
1. Priscilla constantly gives back to the community.
When launching the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Priscilla made a commitment bigger than most by promising to donate 99% of her and her husband’s Facebook shares to humanitarian causes.
That amount was about $45 billion at the time of her announcement.
Today, she’s stuck to her lifelong pledge and still supports the global community through her organizations and donations.
Most recently, Priscilla’s organization has contributed $68 million to cell mapping research and $51 million to fight Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
2. Priscilla opened up a private school.
In 2016, Priscilla decided to open The Primary School in Palo Alto.
The Primary School is a tuition-free private school providing high-quality education for kids between the ages of 18 months and 7 years old.
All student’s families have a family income that falls below 65% of the median income for San Mateo County.
According to the school’s website, they aim to create a “comprehensive approach that integrates services and builds family well-being throughout a child’s development, so children can lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.”
She’s also planning to open up a second location in Hayward, California by the end of 2020.
3. She’s a renowned pediatrician.
In 2008, Priscilla went to the University of California, San Francisco and received her pediatrics degree.
Many of her previous coworkers have praised Priscilla for her attentiveness and ability to be level headed, even in the worst of situations.
Her chief hospital resident, Ryan Padrez, told Quartz in an interview that, “whenever Priscilla is on, some bad stuff was going to happen. Luckily she had total capacity to deal with it.”
Helping people doesn’t stop for Priscilla outside the hospital though.
In July 2019, she also launched Rare As One, an organization that funds research on rare diseases.
“As a pediatrician, I’ve treated countless children with a rare disease,” Priscilla told Good Morning America. “It’s hard, heartbreaking work that inspires me and so many others to work toward better research and treatments.”
4. Priscilla is one of the most powerful women in the world.
n 2018, Priscilla was ranked by Forbes on its list, “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”
The Chan Zuckerberg Foundation and Priscilla’s $75 million donation to San Francisco General Hospital’s foundation are just two reasons that the company chose to recognize her.
She followed other leaders on the list, including Angela Merkel, Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah Winfrey.
5. Women need to realize their potential, says Priscilla.
Priscilla is a big advocate for young women looking to kick start their career.
In an interview with Sheryl Sandberg, she highlighted just how important it is for girls to recognize their potential.
“You — and I have to remind myself of this — are capable beyond your wildest imagination,” explained Priscilla. “And whatever you want to do, do it now. You’re going to have a village to help you.”
When looking for inspiration, she turned to feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“She blazed the trail,” Priscilla noted.
6. Priscilla stays away from her phone at night.
While many of us are attached to our phones, Priscilla has learned how to wind down without technology.
Her husband, Mark, created a “sleep box” so she could take a break from constantly checking her phone.
“She’ll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can’t fall back asleep,” said Mark in an Instagram post.
Now, she looks at a box on her nightstand, which emits a faint light to let her know if it’s time to get up.
7. She’s pushing coding classes into prisons.
Priscilla believes that coding can change lives, especially those of inmates.
In 2019, she went to a prison in Oklahoma and taught classes to incarcerated women through a program called Last Mile.
“Seventy percent of individuals who are incarcerated will come back. But if you give vocational training, it goes down to 30 percent … in the Last Mile program, it is zero percent,” Chan said on CBS This Morning.
She also supports several other organizations that promote education in prisons through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
8. Her parents were Vietnam refugees.
While many may see Priscilla’s lifestyle as glamorous, her childhood tells a different story.
According to the Daily Mail, her father was a refugee from Vietnam and the family moved to the United States after being in China for some time.
Along with this, Priscilla often had to act as a translator for her grandparents when she was younger, as they only spoke Cantonese, according to CNN.
9. Her achievements have been widely recognized by her community.
With everything Priscilla has done, it’s no surprise that she has been awarded for her selfless contributions to society.
In 2017, she won Visionary of the Year, an annual award for unicorn leaders living in the Bay Area.
“I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to give back,” Priscilla said during the award ceremony. “I will spend the rest of my career trying to make San Francisco and the world a little bit better.”
10. She met her husband at a party in college.
To say that Priscilla and Mark were meant to be together is an understatement.
While at Harvard, Mark thought he was going to be expelled and decided to spend his night out at one last college party.
That was the night he met Priscilla.
While in line for the bathroom, he ended up bumping into his future wife.
“In what must be one of the all-time romantic lines, I said, ‘I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly,” said Zuckerberg in an interview with NBC.
They married in 2012, and today they reside in Palo Alto, California with their two children Maxima and August.