Advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity.

The Mission

We believe we can make the world better for generations to come by uniting the greatest minds to solve the toughest problems. It will take long term focus and new ways of working together.

At the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we empower strong, independent leaders from academia and government, as well as the technology and nonprofit sectors to do the best work possible. We engage directly in the communities we serve because no one understands our society’s challenges like those who live them everyday. These partners help us identify problems and opportunities, learn fast and iterate toward our goals for the next century.

By bringing world class engineering to the front lines of science and education, we can build new tools and technologies that help organizations scale. We invest in the best ideas regardless of organizational structure. That includes nonprofit and for profit entities, as well as non-governmental research institutions.


Mark Zuckerberg


Mark Zuckerberg co-founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with his wife, Priscilla Chan, in December 2015. As the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark brings rich technical experience and a deep commitment to building strong communities to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s work. Mark studied computer science at Harvard University before moving to Palo Alto, California in 2004.

Priscilla Chan, MD


Priscilla Chan co-founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with her husband, Mark Zuckerberg, in December 2015. As a pediatrician and former teacher, her work with patients and students in communities across the Bay Area has informed her desire to make learning more personalized and find a path to cure disease. She is also the founder and CEO of The Primary School, which integrates health and education and serves children and families in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood in Menlo Park, California. Priscilla earned her BA in Biology at Harvard University and her MD at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She completed her pediatrics training in the UCSF/PLUS Pediatrics Residency.

Cori Bargmann, PhD

President, Chan Zuckerberg Science

Cori Bargmann, an internationally recognized neurobiologist and geneticist, leads the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s science work. Dr. Bargmann is also the head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior and the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at the Rockefeller University in New York. Dr. Bargmann is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She received the 2012 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience and the 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, among many scientific honors. She also co-chaired the National Institutes of Health committee that set goals and strategies for President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN Initiative). Dr. Bargmann is a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

David Plouffe

President, Policy and Advocacy

David Plouffe leads the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s policy and advocacy team. For more than 25 years, David has developed strategies to bring people together around common causes. He has held senior positions in government and the private sector including his role as manager of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. David also served as White House Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chief Advisor at Uber Technologies, Inc, where he remains a member of the Board of Directors. He is a veteran of several congressional, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns and served as Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and senior staff member to Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a BA from the University of Delaware and is the author of of the New York Times bestseller, The Audacity to Win.

Jim Shelton

President, Chan Zuckerberg Education

Jim Shelton, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, leads the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s education efforts. Previously, he served as the Chief Impact Officer at 2U, Inc., an education technology company that brings college degree programs and credit-bearing courses online. From 2003 to 2009, he was the program director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and holds Master’s degrees in business administration and education from Stanford University.

Learn more about our mission and our commitment to a better future for our children.Our Initiatives