For the second straight year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan gave away 18 million Facebook shares — a gift worth more than $970 million — to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The donation was the largest charitable gift on public record in 2013, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and marked the first time that donors under the age of 30 were credited with the year's largest donation.

I am especially proud that this gift went to a community foundation. Clearly this couple understands the impact a gift through a community foundation can make.

We at the North Carolina Community Foundation were pleased to be the stewards of many significant gifts in December, none of course anywhere near $970 million, but nevertheless significant to us and significant to the donor.

So what is the definition of a significant gift? How do you define what is a significant gift for you? Is it a percentage, an amount or some other calculation? The definition of significant says something “large enough to be noticed or have an effect; or very important; or having a special or hidden meaning.”

I understand what a significant gift for my family is: it is a gift that we can feel, that has impact on us, that involves giving up something else. It is not a gift that can be made without thinking; rather we discuss and consider carefully a significant gift.   

We are grateful for the many folks who trust their significant gifts to the North Carolina Community Foundation.

I have no idea if $970 million is a significant gift for Mark and Priscilla. I would hope so for several reasons, as that amount is too large to consider it otherwise! I challenge you to think about what a significant gift means for you -- and to consider how you plan to make this gift in 2014.

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