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.”