The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Lays Off Dozens Amid Meta’s Cost-Cutting Push

Mark Zuckerberg's family foundation has cut back on its education staff as part of a restructuring.

Meta (META) CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “Year of Efficiency” cost reduction initiative has spread to his family foundation. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), headed by Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla Chan, has laid off 48 employees on its education team, The 74, an education news site funded by the nonprofit, reported yesterday (August 9).

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan attend the 2020 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on November of 2019, in Mountain View, California. Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize

CZI supports causes in three main areas: science, education and community inclusiveness. The education team’s work involves researching “student learning and human development,” building technology that “helps teachers center students’ well-being in support of academic achievement and success” and forming partnerships “to create momentum for systems change,” according to CZI’s website.

The restructuring is “guided by insights from our grantees, research, and educators, our work in education continues to evolve, and the structure of our teams has changed as a result,” CZI spokesperson Raymonde Charles said in a statement. “We remain committed to helping educators give every student exactly what they need to thrive inside the classroom and beyond.”

CZI employed 450 people in 2020, according to the Washington Post. The latest headcount is unknown.

All affected employees were offered the same severance package, The 74 reported, which includes 16 weeks of base pay, a prorated 2023 bonus, continued health insurance and a $10,000 stipend to assist with transitional needs.

CZI, founded in 2015, is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the U.S. focusing on education. It has given grants to nearly 1,000 organizations working to support teachers. Zuckerberg and Chan have pledged to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares, worth $45 billion at the time, to the nonprofit. CZI had $6.3 billion in assets under management at the end of 2020, according to its 2021 IRS filing, the latest available.

Meta lost 60 percent of its market value in 2022, prompting Zuckerberg to pursue an unprecedented cost-reduction effort which he described as a “Year of Efficiency.” Since November 2022, Meta has cut 21,000 jobs across all functions.

“The Year of Efficiency was always about two different goals: becoming an even stronger technology company, and improving our financial results so we can invest aggressively in our ambitious long-term roadmap,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on July 26 after Meta reported second-quarter earnings.

“Now that we’ve gotten through the major layoffs, the rest of 2023 will be about creating stability for employees, removing barriers that slow us down, introducing new A.I.-powered tools to speed us up, and so on,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Meta’s stock price is up 147 percent this year, almost erasing all of last year’s losses. The company currently has a market cap of nearly $800 billion.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Lays Off Dozens Amid Meta’s Cost-Cutting Push