Everybody has seen The Social Network, but the jilted love story in that movie didn’t reveal the truth about Zuckerberg’s future soulmate, Pricilla Chan. These two married in 2012, and live in Palo Alto, California with their kids August and Maxima. People might think of her as just the wife of a social media mogul, but Chan is a very impressive role model in her own right, with just as many achievements than her genius husband. There’s one thing for sure: this couple uses their money and power for good. Here are the least known facts about Priscilla Chan that you need to know.
1. She graduated from Harvard, with a degree in biology, starting her medical career in 2012.
2. Her net worth is over $14 million — she definitely doesn’t piggy back off her husband’s fortune!
3. She met her hubby at a party in Harvard. The party happened to occur the same night Mark thought he would be expelled, and had one last wild night at a frat party. In line for the bathroom, the two met, where Mark said “I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly.”
4. Priscilla Chan’s parents were Vietnamese refugees. While her life may be glamorous now, a humble childhood made her into the strong woman she is today. The family moved to the US after living in China, and Priscilla was often a translator for her grandparents when they headed west. She grew up in Massachusetts.
5. She launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic company donating towards humanitarian causes. When launching it, she promised to donate 99% of her and Mark’s Facebook shares. At the time, this amount was $45 billion, and she kept that pledge to this day.
6. Recently, Priscilla’s organization has donated $68 million to cell mapping research, and $51 million to research and fight towards a cure for Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
7. In 2016, Chan opened The Primary School. This private school in Palo Alto is tuition-free, providing the best education for kids between a year and a half and 7 years old. Every attending student has a family income that’s lower than 65% of the median income for San Mateo County.
8. Priscilla is a world-famous pediatrician. She received her degree from the University of California in San Francisco, and her chief hospital resident once said in an interview that she had a “total capacity” to deal with whatever crisis would come her way.
9. In 2019, Priscilla Chan launched the organization Rare as One. They fund research on rare disease, which Priscilla is no stranger to as a pediatrician.
10. In 2018, Forbes ranked her The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. The company recognized her not just because of her financial donations towards important causes — it was just one of the many reasons amidst her collection of achievements.
11. She’s an empowering advocate for young women looking to excel in their careers. During a chat with Sheryl Sandberg, Chan discussed how important it is for girls to realize their potential and capabilities, even if they’re not necessarily encouraged the same as boys.
12. Although she’s a feminist role model herself, her personal female hero is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Priscilla said “blazed the trail” for women to explore all kinds of possibilities.
13. No screens is essential for Priscilla in the evening. Mark created a “sleep box” so she could get a break from what must be a constantly buzzing phone. Instead of waking up and checking the time on her phone at night, she looks instead at a box on her nightstand (the sleep box) which puts out a faint light when it’s wake up time.
14. She’s a major advocate for having coding classes in prisons, with a strong belief that coding can change lives. In 2019, she taught female prisoners in Oklahoma through a program called Last Mile. Chan supports multiple organizations that promote education in prisons, and reduce the chance of an inmate returning.
15. She was bullied in school, but found passions in the tennis team and the Robotics class. She even became co-captain of the tennis team, and graduated from high school as Valedictorian.
16. She once described her husband as a nerd to the New Yorker, further expanding, “I remember he had these beer glasses that said ‘pound include beer dot H.’ It’s a tag for C++. It’s like college humor but with a nerdy, computer-science appeal.”