Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg's $45 billion donation

Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan. The Facebook founder plans to take two months' paternal leave when their baby is born.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan. The Facebook founder plans to take two months' paternal leave when their baby is born.

New parents Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg are giving 99 percent of their Facebook fortune - worth about $45 billion dollars - to charity..

The Zuckerbergs are a part of a new breed of billionaires, primarily from Silicon Valley, eager to use their vast wealth for philanthropic causes.

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Sally Osberg is ceo and president of the Skoll Foundation, a charitable group founded by eBay billionaire Jeffrey Skoll. Osberg is also the co-author of "Getting Beyond Better."

Osberg said by setting up the charitable initiative focused on education and health, the Zuckerbergs will be able to effect change in a meaningful and wide-ranging way.

"I think the couple will be extremely influential on a global scale," said Osberg. "They will be able to make grants to causes they personally care about but on a magnitude that can be life-changing for so many individuals on the planet"

"Zuckerberg is an entrepreneur, so it makes sense he would be attracted to making big changes," said Osberg. "And because his wife, Priscilla, is a doctor, she will be able to draw on personal experience when deciding where to invest and with whom to invest that money in."

In 2010, a then 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg pledged $100 million donation to reform Newark, New Jersey's crumbling public school, a system long damaged by years of extreme violence and poverty.

Read MoreWhere Zuckerberg's $100 million gift went wrong: Pros

Former Washington Post reporter, Dale Russakoff chronicled the arc of the Zuckerberg's gift in her book, "The Prize," and she said despite good intentions, his strategy was ill-advised and failed to make any sort of meaningful reform.

"Ultimately, Zuckerberg got an education on education philanthropy," said Russakoff. "Going forward, he was determined to dispense money with much more direct engagement in the communities served."

"There were too many highly-paid consultants, a fiery grass-roots opposition stoked by local politicians and union leaders," said Russakoff. "As a result of that experience, he and his wife are now focused on putting their charitable efforts closer to home in the Bay area, instead of in a city they have never even visited."

Russakoff also said they are more focused then ever before. "This time, they are talking with parents and teachers at the ground level to understand the real needs of children. They are fully committed to changing the direction of their education philanthropy, as a result of Newark."