As the tech world creates more and more young millionaires, the question is: How will they give back?
The Facebook founder’s recent donations give some hints, and it’s clear that others are following his model.
It’s a familiar refrain: the latest tech boom has created a growing crop of young millionaires who prefer hoodies to suits and ties. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg is the ultimate success story–a Harvard dropout who made billions with a brilliant idea and some coding skills. Whether Facebook is a force of good, evil, or something in between is forever up for debate, but here’s what we do know: Zuckerberg is a really generous guy. And that’s a good thing for the philanthropic organizations waiting to see what the latest generation of wealthy people will do with their money.
Mark Zuckerberg first gained attention for his philanthropic actions in 2010, when he announced on the Oprah Winfrey Show that he was giving $100 million to the beleaguered Newark, New Jersey, public school system. Zuckerberg has no ties to Newark, but as he explained in a blog post, “Newark has unfortunately become a symbol of public education’s failure–of a status quo that accepts schools that don’t succeed.” Zuckerberg added: “Rather than waiting until later in life to focus on giving back, I’ve spent a lot of the last year researching and looking for the most impactful ways to improve education starting in America.”
And indeed, Zuckerberg has continued his quest to improve American education. In December 2012, the entrepreneur announced that he’s giving $500 million in Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, an organization that gives to local initiatives spanning a variety of sectors (Zuckerberg is focusing on education and health). But here’s the thing. Zuckerberg may be one of the most high-profile young tech philanthropists. He’s hardly the only one, though. And we have to imagine that at least some of the other young Silicon Valley givers are influenced by Zuckerberg’s generosity.
There is no typical Silicon Valley philanthropist, says Daniel Lurie, the CEO and founder of Tipping Point Community, a Bay Area organization that funds local poverty-fighting groups and often works with young donors. “I would say Silicon Valley and the financial industry folks we work with want to know the impact that they’re having. That’s a common theme,” he explains. “They don’t want to just write a check and say ‘We’ll see you next year.’ They want to know where it’s going and what the impact is. They want results.”
In a sense, this mirrors tech entrepreneurs’ professional lives: They want to a see a return on their philanthropic investment. Tipping Point works with a lot of young Silicon Valley professionals, so the organization’s methods reflect these needs. Says Lurie: “We invest our philanthropic dollars in the same way a lot of these entrepreneurs invest in their companies. If something’s not working, they make changes, and if something’s not working at Tipping Point, we’re not scared to make changes either.”
via FastCoExist – Ariel Schwartz
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