Zuckerberg's generosity is emblematic of a larger trend among Millennials

Other philanthropists have applauded Zuckerberg for not just the size of his donation, but for the example of generosity it sets for other young people. However, it seems his generation already has a leg up in that department.

Mark Zuckerberg/AP
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg hold their newborn daughter Max Chan Zuckerberg. The Facebook chief executive officer and his wife on Dec. 1 announced the birth of their daughter, Max, as well as plans to donate most of their wealth to a new organization that will tackle a broad range of the world's ills.

Mark Zuckerberg’s recent pledge to give away 99 percent of his Facebook shares to charity, announced in an open letter to his newborn daughter, Max, and posted – where else – on Facebook, is indicative of a wider trend: Millennials are givers.

In fact, in the recent 2015 Money Mindset Report, released by Thrivent Financial, 79 percent of Millennials consider themselves more generous than the average American.

Whether or not that self-perception is correct, young people are certainly donating their money and time in different ways than they did before. In 2014, a Reason-Rupe public-opinion survey found that 84 percent of Millennials had made a charitable donation that year; 78 percent of those givers had made a donation on their own instead of through their company.

“This is not your father’s corporate social responsibility anymore,” Jean Case, a former executive at AOL and chief executive of the Case Foundation, told The Post.

Something else that’s different about Millennials is the immediacy they feel about giving: they feel compelled to act now, whether it’s texting to give money to relief efforts for Nepal or other global issues.

In the letter that Mr. Zuckerberg wrote to his daughter, he described how his own sense of personal commitment prompted him to give sooner rather than later.

“Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I will continue to serve as Facebook's CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work.”

Zuckerberg was hailed by other billionaires as a model of charitable giving for giving so much away so early in his career: Warren Buffett was 76 when he decided to give away all of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to charity; Zuckerberg is only in his early thirties.

Mr. Buffet said on Facebook, “Mark and Priscilla are breaking the mould with this breathtaking commitment. A combination of brains, passion, and resources on this scale will change the lives of millions. On behalf of future generations, I thank him.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.