Mark Zuckerberg Bets Big on the Bay Area

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger to making big bets -- Instagram, Oculus Rift and WhatsApp, to name a few. Now he's making a big bet on the children of Silicon Valley.

Early Friday, Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan (a former teacher and current pediatric resident at the University of California at San Francisco), announced they would be donating $120 million to help improve education for underserved communities in the Bay Area, via the Startup:Education fund.

Zuckerberg made the announcement on his Facebook page, noting that although the Bay Area is rich in resources for the tech community, the education system in lacking in many areas, especially for underprivileged schools.

"Students from low income and minority backgrounds are the hardest hit, which means fewer end up graduating or attending college," Zuckerberg said in the post. "Improving public education in our country and our community is something Priscilla and I really care about, and we want to change this."

He noted that the funds will be used for new district and charter schools to encourage innovation, and to help build up the next area of leadership in education, as well as supporting student development.

Richard A. Carranza, of the San Francisco Unified School District, noted how important it is for the award to keep the youth of San Francisco ahead of the curve.

"Our youth are our most important resource, they will keep our city culturally vibrant and competitive," Carranza said in a statement. "But to transform our schools into truly 21st century learning systems we need a greater investment in financial, social and political capital. We are thrilled that Mark and Priscilla have stepped up to support our vision by focusing on the needs of students in San Francisco's most underserved communities."

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