Last night the Giving Pledge announced 17 new pledges – bringing the total pledges to 57 American billionaires.
Most of the buzz around the press release is about Mark Zuckerberg, the 26 year old founder of Facebook. But also in the group of new pledges is Dustin Moskovitz, one of Facebook’s co-founders whose 6% stake in the company puts his net worth at around $1.6 billion. Moskovitz is the world’s youngest billionaire (only by about a week to Zuckerberg). So lets take a moment to reflect on what it means when two 26 year olds, who have already made it to the billionaires club, find themselves on an even more exclusive list of 57 individuals and families who have pledged to give away at least half of their net worth in their lifetime.
“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done? [...] With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts”
Back in September, Zuckerberg stepped into the philanthropic arena with $100 million gift to the Newark public school system.
No doubt that Zuckerberg and Moskovitz are giving a good name to the often maligned millennial generation. They represent the best of entrepreneurial innovation, philanthropy and dedication to social change. This is an important moment, when young leaders who have created wealth are changing the paradigm for when and how philanthropic dollars are put to work.