"He's used to doing $100 million deals, and the combined budgets here were $2 million or less," says Lunsford. "But there's no way they could have found the resources to help them do this. They're both stronger for it."

Austin-based Girlstart, a nonprofit that offers programs in math and science to girls ages 9 to 15, used its $50,000 grant from ASVP to build a technology center. Founder Rachel Muir says that ASVP's support has had a "phenomenal" impact on Girlstart.

"We have girls who come in not knowing potato chips from computer chips," says Muir. "They've seen all this technology as something for boys, not for them. By the end of the week, they've built their own Web site and they're putting their Christmas lists online with embedded Web links."

Morino applauds the financial and intellectual commitment of the new philanthropists, though he believes it's far too early to measure their full impact. As critics have noted, the stubborn problems of hunger, illiteracy, and disease may not yield at Internet speed. And as Kanter points out, the volatile stock market has forced some of her peers to downsize their dreams of changing the world. "There are not as many millionaires as there were a year ago," she says.

Despite the ailing NASDAQ, Wagner believes that many more of his peers will turn to philanthropy in the coming years.

"Remember, they're still running the companies, fighting the stock market," Wagner says. "Over time, as they free up, they'll say, 'Wow, I've still got a lot of great years left and a lot of energy. What can I do to make an impact?'"

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