As a young person (I'm 31), I get the sense that not many of my peers are into philanthropic activities (at least those who are working (as opposed to those in graduate school or who are between jobs)). Our culture is not given over to discussing our philanthropic activities openly, so I really don't have a good sense of whether that's true or not. Nevertheless, my sense is that many young people consider philanthropy to be the realm inhabited by old people, especially empty-nesters and retirees. They probably don't understand this obligation and privilege of contributing to the Jewish people extends to any amount and to anybody earning money.
This sentiment was recently featured in last week's Jewish Journal, in an article written by Danielle Berrin about Michal Taviv-Margolese that even though she had been giving money here and there, she hadn't realized how much she really could be giving until her mid-30s. Since attending Tribefest this past March, I have been heavily desiring to encourage my fellow young Jews who are working and earning money to be philanthropic.
Although one can fantasize about young adult Jews going into the workforce and immediately begin making financial donations to the community, this fantasy is far from reality. Of course, one reason is that young people have so much of their lives ahead of them and not only need to save for financial distress or being in between jobs, but also for building their families and futures. However, another reason is that many (most?) young adult Jews do not understand the importance nor significance of financial giving.
This conundrum is certainly not going to be fixed by one person, but perhaps I need to be engaging in a more concerted effort of encouraging my fellow young adults in financial giving....