Mark Zuckerberg announced via his Facebook page that Peggy Abkemeier Alford has been appointed the chief financial officer for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.(Peggy Abkemeier Alford, far right. Image: Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg)
Zuckerberg wrote that he was “excited” to welcome Abkemeier Alford and also discussed the challenges of running the initiative:
One of the biggest challenges running a large philanthropic initiative is measuring results and deciding how to invest capital across different disciplines. For example, how do we know whether we’ll have a greater impact investing more into personalized learning to help students today, or long term science research that could cure diseases in the future, or advocacy for important issues like immigration reform?
At a company like Facebook, the market provides a helpful feedback loop. We have a clear sense of how many people we can hire and how much infrastructure we can build to bring people closer together while creating a sustainable organization. But without that market dynamic in philanthropy, building a disciplined, large-scale effort to take on challenges in education, science, and advocacy is a novel challenge.
Some fast facts about Abkemeier Alford:
- She was most recently an executive at PayPal. She was nominated by the CEO of PayPal to be included in Fortune’s “Fortune 500’s next generation of female talent” list.
- She also worked for eBay and Rent.com in accounting and financial leadership roles.
- She has a BS in Accounting and Business Administration from University of Dayton.
- Her mother, Dr. Mary Abkemeier, is a professor and department chair of the mathematics and computer science department at Fontbonne University in St. Louis.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was created by the Facebook founder and his wife Priscilla Chan as a way to actively make investment in good causes, rather than just donating. The couple announced they would sink 99% of their Facebook stock holdings (approximately $45 billion at today’s rates) into these causes.
Recently, The College Board partnered with the Zuckerberg’s foundation to expand college access to underserved students.