This recent story from Entrepreneur magazine discusses how corporations are becoming more interested in being seen as valuable contributors to communities and not just profitable, exclusive entities. The article also mentioned several studies showing that a greater share of Generation Y-ers show an interest in a job with companies that incorporate volunteer work and related community values:
"...Research by Deloitte & Touche USA suggests that companies offering volunteer opportunities to employees could have an advantage in recruiting Generation Y talent. In the firm's 2007 Volunteer IMPACT survey, 62 percent of Gen Y respondents said they would prefer to work for companies that give them opportunities to contribute their talents to nonprofit organizations."
While I haven't looked into past years' surveys I think the trend is a result of our hyper-exposure to information, especially global and national news, and the ready access point of the Internet that expanded people's awareness of many different issues and needs. And somewhat naturally from that awareness comes interest and concern and hopefully action.
The speed and reach of new media of course also allowing advocates to reach more people as well. But we all know that we're overexposed to marketing messages and are quite talented now at tuning-out, and I think the sort of inadvertent education that the news could account for this generation's values.