Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan poured $4.2 million into a jobs program for residents of the Hawaiian county where they own a controversial $100 million compound

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $4.2 million to a jobs program in Hawaii.
  • The program helps Kauai residents who lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Zuckerberg spent much of last year at his controversial $100 million compound in Kauai.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are pouring $4.2 million into a jobs program for residents of the Hawaiian county where they own a controversial $100 million compound.

Called the Rise to Work program, the initiative was created in 2020 for residents of the county of Kauai who lost their jobs amid the pandemic. But the program was funded by the initial economic stimulus bill last year and the funding expired this past December. Now, the program is being revived thanks to Zuckerberg and Chan’s donation.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a statement about the funding that he had shared with the Chan Zuckerberg team how successful the previous iteration of the program had been, and it eventually led to a donation from the couple.

“Through Priscilla’s and Mark’s generous donation of $4.2 million to the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Rise to Work program lives again – offering purpose and hope to people who are struggling,” Kawakami said.

Applications for the program opened on Monday. The program can support up to 400 workers – those who are selected will be placed in temporary jobs and will receive weekly pay and free health insurance. The program also helps local businesses, the county says, because it allows them to increase capacity without adding to their payroll costs.

“Our family cares deeply about Kauai, and we are pleased to support this valuable program that has far-reaching positive effects in a community we love,” Chan said in a statement.

Zuckerberg and Chan have been residents of Kauai since 2014, when they purchased a 750-acre compound on Kauai’s North Shore. They paid a reported $100 million for two separate properties: a 357-acre former sugarcane plantation called Kahu’aina Plantation, and a 393-acre parcel called Pila’a Beach.

While the couple and their two daughters are typically based in Palo Alto, California, near Facebook’s headquarters, it appears they’ve been spending time at their Hawaii home throughout the pandemic. They were seen on the island in June – government officials confirmed the family followed the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine at the time – and Zuckerberg was spotted in July riding a $12,000 electric surfboard while covered in sunscreen. He was photographed again in December, albeit this time with less visible sunscreen.

In April, Zuckerberg and Chan committed $1 million to Kauai to help the region battle the coronavirus.

Read more: A drunken late-night assault allegation has roiled the secretive world of Mark Zuckerberg’s private family office. Personal aides are speaking out about claims that household staff endured sexual harassment and racism from their colleagues.

But the couple’s presence on the island has been controversial in the past. In 2016, Zuckerberg angered neighbors by constructing a 6-foot wall around his property with the intention of reducing “highway and road noise.”

One year later, Zuckerberg filed suit against Hawaiian families who had legal-ownership claims on parcels of land within his property. Zuckerberg said at the time that he filed the suit in order to “make sure smaller partial owners get paid for their fair share too,” but the move prompted backlash from residents who described the move as “neocolonialism.”

Zuckerberg later dropped the suit, saying that he and Chan wanted to “make this right, talk with the community, and find a better approach.” The parcels were later auctioned off, with three out of four being sold to a bidder who was reportedly backed by Zuckerberg.

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Officials condemned the naming of a San Francisco hospital after Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, saying misinformation on Facebook endangered public health

mark zuckerberg priscilla chan facebook
Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg.

  • San Francisco officials on Tuesday passed a resolution formally condemning the naming of a local hospital after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan.
  • The hospital was renamed the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital after a $75 million donation from the billionaires in 2015.
  • The officials said Facebook had endangered public health by allowing misinformation to spread.
  • “San Francisco’s only public hospital should not bear the name of a person responsible for endangering public health in our country and around the world — and yet it does,” Gordon Mar, the lead sponsor of the measure, said, per Vox.
  • But the vote has no legal power, meaning the hospital doesn’t have to change its name.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

San Francisco officials on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning the naming of a local hospital after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan,

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted overwhelming in favor of the resolution to condemn the name, accusing the couple of tax evasion, and Facebook of “endangering public health” by allowing misinformation to spread on its platform.

After a $75 million donation from the billionaires in 2015, San Francisco General Hospital was renamed the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

The vote has no legal power, meaning the hospital doesn’t have to change its name. A 50-year-long name change came as part of the donation, Vox reported, and changing it back could contractually oblige the hospital to return the $75 million donation.

“San Francisco’s only public hospital should not bear the name of a person responsible for endangering public health in our country and around the world – and yet it does,” Gordon Mar, the lead sponsor of the measure, said per Vox. “These are policy choices, and they have a body count.”

Demand to change the name started years ago, but hospital staff began to campaign more actively this summer.

Zuckerberg and Chan’s $75 million donation is being distributed in installments through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). The resolution noted that funds such as these have come under fire “for functioning as tax shelters to offset capital gains taxes from appreciating stock values following events like initial public offerings.”

It added that Chan and Zuckerberg’s first donation to the SVCF closely coincided with Facebook’s IPO, “likely saving the Donors tens of millions of dollars in capital gains taxes,” it said.

“The City and County of San Francisco should discourage, not publicly reward, tax evasion,” the board said.

Approximately 90% of the $1.244 billion construction and furnishing costs for the hospital were paid for by San Francisco taxpayers, it added.

Facebook, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the SVCF did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Zuckerberg has previously spoken out in favor of tax reform in Europe, and said Facebook “accept[s] that may mean we have to pay more tax and pay it in different places under a new framework.”

Discussing effort across Europe to introduce digital taxes, a Facebook spokesperson similarly told Business Insider that it continues to “encourage governments globally to focus on international tax reform because ultimately we need a global solution.”

The company has denied any wrongdoing in previous tax disputes.

Facebook has also introduced new policies to try to crack down on misinformation during 2020. It is working with fact-checking groups to curb the spread of posts sharing vaccine misinformation, has banned posts falsely claiming that the vaccine contains microchips, and added labels to – and actively demoted – false election posts.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg threatened not to invest in the UK over its ‘anti-tech’ attitude during a secret government meeting

The board’s resolution also urged the city’s officials to establish clear standards for naming rights for public institutions “that reflect San Francisco’s values and a commitment to affirming and upholding human rights, dignity, and social and racial justice.”

The board also listed other controversies Facebook has become embroiled in since the hospital was renamed, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the spread of misinformation about the election and COVID-19 on the platform, and its refusal to remove posts by President Donald Trump “that incited hatred and violence against African Americans.”

Kim Meredith, CEO of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, expressed concerns that the resolution “has potential unintended consequences of discouraging future donations.”

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