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Facebook founder pledges $100 million to N.J. schools

By Amy Sahba, CNN


NEW YORK (CNN) -- One of America's richest, and youngest, is giving back.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of social networking powerhouse Facebook, is planning on donating $100 million toward improving public schools in the troubled district of Newark, N.J.

According to an official familiar with the agreement, Zuckerberg's donation will be the first installment from a foundation financed by Zuckerberg, and will be focused on bettering education.

With an estimated net worth of $6.9 billion, Zuckerberg ranked 35th on this year's Forbes 400 list of richest Americans -- up from 158th last year.

At 26, he and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, are the youngest billionaires on the list.

Zuckerberg is expected to officially announce the donation on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Friday, along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

The announcement comes a week ahead of the release of "The Social Network" -- a highly anticipated movie about Facebook's early years. The movie, and the book it is based on -- "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich -- do not depict Zuckerberg in the most favorable of lights. Critics have speculated that the donation is being timed to counteract the effects of the movie.

Control of Newark public schools has been in the hands of the state since 1995. Under an agreement between Mayor Booker and Gov. Christie, the state will maintain legal control over the district, but will authorize the mayor to develop a comprehensive education plan. No details have been released about how the money is to be distributed or used.

Zuckerberg grew up in Westchester County, N.Y., and founded Facebook in 2004, while studying computer science at Harvard University. To top of page

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