The CZI was launched by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician and CEO of The Primary School in East Palo Alto. CZI's stated mission is to "find new ways to leverage technology, community-driven solutions, and collaboration to accelerate progress in Science, Education, and within our Justice & Opportunity work."CZI aims to reach its goals using technology, grantmaking, impact investments, policy and advocacy.
In December 2018 CZI announced $51.95 million in funding to research in the CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network with the aim of understanding the underlying causes of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease and ALS.
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub is an independent non-profit research center at UCSF, Berkeley and Stanford University. In 2016, Chan and Zuckerberg committed $600 million in funding to the Biohub whose current projects are the Cell Atlas Initiative and the Infectious Disease Initiative. The Cell Atlas Initiative is part of the international effort to build the Human Cell Atlas, which aims to map every cell type in the human body.CZI supports the Human Cell Atlas through funding 3-year Seed Networks that aim to promote interdisciplinary work and collaboration and solidify growth of the research community.In 2018 CZI announced $15 million in funding towards the Human Cell Atlas over one year, which will provide 85 grants in 53 institutions in nine countries.
CZI is partnered with the Summit Learning Program, which focuses on improving online educational tools.CZI manages a team of engineers that build and support the Summit software platform.
The program is designed to allow students to work at their own pace. Over 2015-2018 the Summit Learning Program went from serving 19 schools to 380 schools. Students who were furthest behind their peers, showed 17 and 20% gains in their math and reading assessments. The Summit online personalized learning platform plans to spin off as a separate non-profit corporation in 2019, governed by a board composed of Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan and CZI chief financial officer, Peggy Alford.
In the end of 2018, the Summit learning platform faced scrutiny over privacy and effectiveness. Some students claimed the program did not prepare them for standardized tests and both students and parents were concerned about privacy due to its collection of data on their grades, disciplinary records and demographics. Raymonde Charles, communications director for CZI told the Washington Post that they don’t own or sell student information and are committed to safeguarding the privacy and security of student personal information.
Justice and Opportunity
The Justice and Opportunity arm of the CZI organization is focused on criminal justice reform, housing affordability and immigration reform.
Criminal Justice Reform is part of the CZI Justice and Opportunity program. In the October 2018, CZI announced support for the Public Rights Project, a nonpartisan organization that works with prosecutors and aims to empower state and local governments to protect basic civil rights and freedoms.
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