What Zuckerberg’s $45B Gift Says About Millennial Leaders

Dec 02 , 2015

Future Generations to Lead with Facebook Founder's Benevolence, Altruism in Mind

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg made headlines yesterday with the announcement that, in honor of his daughter’s birth, he and his wife will give away 99 percent of his Facebook shares in his lifetime to make the world a better place.

Ninety-nine percent of Facebook’s stock is valued today at $45 billion. While specifics have not yet been revealed of how exactly the money will be spent, Zuckerberg and his wife said it will help “advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.”

Zuckerberg is perhaps one of the most prominent people of the millennial generation, and here is what this monumental decision tells us about millennial leaders.

  1. They will lead with altruism. It’s clear the Zuckerberg couple have driving forces of altruism (a high social motivator). Many millennials embrace this driving force as well, as we’ll see more and more leaders in this generation make decisions that benefit others first, rather than just the company they’re leading. This means more high profile donations like this one, more corporate giving programs, and more encouragement of employees to pursue causes that are important to them.
  2. They will consider their long-term footprint. The financial commitment the Zuckerberg couple made was prompted by the birth of their daughter and the desire to make the world a better place for her. They saw the opportunity to influence her life 50 years from now and jumped on it. Millennials today want to make a difference in the world differently than other generations; they want to ensure the world is a better place because of their influence.
  3. They will reinvent what it means to be a leader. The leaders of tomorrow — the rising stars of the millennial generation — will challenge everything we thought we knew about leadership. Leading by example, giving back and offering up fresh ideas of how to better the world while making a living are a few examples of how millennials will choose to lead.

As Zuckerberg continues to make decisions about the social media company he grew and about his personal life, we’ll see other millennial leaders follow suit. 

While not all are able to donate billions of dollars to important causes, they are likely to lead with Zuckerberg’s benevolence and altruism in mind.

About the Author

Jennifer Lawhead