Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have poached former Obama campaign manager and Uber board member David Plouffe to be their philanthropic organization’s president of policy and advocacy, The New York Times first reported on Tuesday.
Plouffe’s hiring is intended to help deepen ties between Washington D.C. and The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the company Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan created in 2015 to give away the majority of their wealth.
Along with hiring Plouffe, who will remain on Uber’s board, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is forming a public policy board that will be led by Kenneth Mehlman, the former manager of President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.
“You can make change, but in order for it to be sustainable, you need to build a movement to support it,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with The New York Times. “No amount of private research or philanthropy is going to shift that. At the end of the day, the government has far more resources than any individual organization does.”
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was set up by Zuckerberg and his wife to give away 99% of their estimated $52 billion fortune before they die. The organization has so far made investments in education tech startups and most recently committed $3 billion to curing the world’s diseases.
“When we launched our science initiative last year, I spoke about how we need to change that our government spends 50x more treating people who are sick than finding cures so people don’t get sick in the first place,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “I’m excited to work with David on this.”
Zuckerberg’s commitment to changing how government works is interesting given that he has personally shown interest in serving in public office. Last year, he proposed a Facebook stock reclassification that would let him maintain control of the company while simultaneously serving in government.
In a statement sent to Business Insider, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said that Plouffe will continue to play a “key part” in the company and remain on its board.
“Three years ago, I was looking for someone to help guide Uber’s strategy as we launched in more cities around the globe,” Kalanick said. “David impressed me with his storytelling skills, his ability to connect with people on a human level, and his incredible passion for Uber and our mission. I’m excited that he’ll bring that passion to the world-changing efforts underway at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and that he will remain a key part of our family as an Uber board member, an advocate for our company, and an advisor to me.”