We have been witnessing and experiencing two opposing trends affecting the generations in different ways during this recent and enduring economic crisis/recession/downtown. This article focuses on Generations X and Y, people in their 20s to late 40s. While those two generations are different from each other in significant ways, their use of technology to reinvent approaches (or processes) is worth examining not only for the immediate purpose intended, but also for new models to apply their values to making and spending money.
During the downturn the affluent and wealthy have generally gotten wealthier – that is, those who already have significant assets as well as the successful tech entrepreneurs and hedge fund managers, to name the most obvious. During the same period, the under 35ers who had education debt and had trouble getting a good or any job, especially the high-paying ones they expected their education to result in, have been suffering for who knows how long. This gap is certain to shape long-term attitudes about money and values for both the haves and have-nots.
For the young members of the creative class, it’s no time for hunkering down. With Silicon Valley’s very successful entrepreneurs leading the way – and exerting peer pressure by offering large sums if they are matched by others in the tech community – we may be seeing those generations’ tech entrepreneurs become role models of young philanthropy.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal (May 5, 2012) by Holly Finn in an article, “Young, Rich and Charitable,” they are stepping up in a big way now. For example:
- Mark Benioff (age 47), Salesforce founder, large gift to San Francisco Children’s Hospital
- Mark Zuckerberg, (27), Facebook founder, Newark, NJ schools
- Marc Andreessen (40) and Ben Horowitz (45) founders of Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz – the 6 partners pledged to give away half of their earnings
And others (not named Mark): signed Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge:
- Elon Musk (40), PayPal founder
- Dustin Moskovitz (27), Facebook co-founder
- Sergey Brin (38), Google and wife Anne Wojcicki (38) promised $1 million to local anti-poverty charity Tipping Point if matched by Silicon Valley peers
- Jack Dorsey (35), Twitter co-founder, opened his rolodex and arranged a fundraiser for Build, a non-profit that teaches disadvantaged students how to be entrepreneurs
Leaning on others to spread the philanthropy trend, calls have been made to peers who have just sold companies and walked away with big bucks. Angel investor Ron Conway said, “The Facebook generation is going to be very philanthropic earlier in their careers.”
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com