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Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg Donates $31 Million in Facebook Stock to Charity

Lean In and other women-empowerment groups will get the majority of the money.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has donated 290,000 shares of Facebook stock — a market value of roughly $31 million — to a myriad of different charities, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document filed Thursday.

The shares were technically transferred to the Sheryl Sandberg Philanthropy Fund, a donor-advised fund that will take control of the stock from Sandberg but allow her to advise/steer the money toward charities she cares about. In this case, Fidelity controls the fund. The stock was actually sold on November 20, but disclosed for the first time today.

The money is earmarked for the kinds of charities Sandberg has donated to in the past. The majority of the $31 million will go to women’s empowerment groups and Lean In, the nonprofit founded by Sandberg to help support women in the workplace, according to a source familiar with Sandberg’s plans. She also plans to give money to education groups and anti-poverty efforts. (Sandberg is co-chair of the Stand Up for Kids Campaign for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties.)

Sandberg has donated in the past, of course, but most of it has gone under the radar. The donations should keep coming though. Sandberg signed The Giving Pledge back in 2014, the commitment by the world’s hyper-wealthy to “dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy” over their lifetime.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan have also signed the pledge, and made headlines last month after promising to give away 99 percent of their Facebook stock over their lifetimes.

Sandberg should enjoy some tax benefits, too. Donors who transfer shares to a donor-advised fund are not subject to capital gains taxes on those shares, and they receive an income tax break, too.

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