(Credit: Brian Solis/Flickr)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, will donate $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation to help combat the spread of Ebola.
Zuckerberg made the announcement on his personal Facebook page, saying the epidemic is “at a critical turning point” and must be addressed before the virus becomes a long-term issue.
“It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed,” he wrote. “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.”
The CDC Foundation, a congressionally founded organization to supplement CDC’s budget with private funding, will use the donation to support the Ebola response effort in the most affected countries, like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as other regions where the virus poses a health threat.
While the disease has spread to the United States, since killing a man in Dallas, CDC Director Tom Frieden said Ebola must be targeted at its source.
“The sooner the world comes together to help West Africa, the safer we all will be,” Frieden said in a statement. “This significant contribution from Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan will help us rapidly advance the fight against Ebola.”
Zuckerberg and Chan donated the money to CDC Foundation’s Global Disaster Response Fund, helping provide essential assistance on the ground.
“It’s important to note that the gift by Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan will provide flexible funding allowing CDC to address the most pressing needs as the epidemic shifts and evolves,” Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful for this magnificent donation, and we thank them for their compassionate support that will save so many lives.”
Zuckerberg isn’t the first of the tech elite to donate to the fight against Ebola. Prior to his and Chan’s donation, Microsoft co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates donated $50 million to several organizations with his wife, Melinda, through their foundation in September. A day later, Gates’ co-founder, Paul Allen, donated $9 million to the CDC effort as well.
“Grants like this directly help the frontline responders in their heroic work,” Zuckerberg wrote. “These people are on the ground setting up care centers, training local staff, identifying Ebola cases and much more. We are hopeful this will help save lives and get this outbreak under control.”