Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan will donate $25 million to combat the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. The money will be used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s regarding the Ebola response effort in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and elsewhere in the world where Ebola is a threat, the foundation said Tuesday.
“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. “We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.”
In a status update, Zuckerberg compared the disease to Polio and HIV, noting that Ebola has already infected 8,400 people and that it has the potential to spread quickly.
Zuckerberg said he was making the donation along with his wife Priscilla Chan, a recent graduate of the UCSF medical school who is a pediatric medical resident.
The two of them topped The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of most generous donors for 2013, with contributions totaling $1 billion. Most of that came from 18 million Facebook shares they gave to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
“We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome (…) Grants like this directly help the frontline responders in their heroic work. These people are on the ground setting up care centres, training local staff, identifying Ebola cases and much more. We are hopeful this will help save lives and get this outbreak under control.”
Paul Allen, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, donated $20 million from his family foundation toward battling Ebola in West Africa through a campaign called Tackle Ebola. Visitors to TackleEbola.com can see a graphic that shows that Allen’s donation purchased among other things, “25,000 pairs of gloves and 4,000 protective masks.” Last month, Bill Gates, Allen’s former Microsoft partner, donated $50 million to the Ebola effort, largely to U.N. agencies and other global organizations on the ground.