How to Give Boldly from Earned Income: A Guide for Techies and Others Who Don’t Come From Wealthy Backgrounds

How to Give Boldly from Earned Income: A Guide for Techies and Others Who Don't Come From Wealthy Backgrounds

By Ellie Poley (member Chicago chapter; former member Seattle chapter)


When my wife and I decided to create a bold, radical giving plan, we had to chart our own course because our money comes from monthly paychecks and annual bonuses, not from an existing fund or wealthy family members. I am sharing my approach to giving and financial planning to inspire people who want and are able to give from their income. While there are many ways to take action as a member of Resource Generation, I am focusing here on giving and redistributing one’s own money since I find it easiest for busy people to get started. Young people who work in tech are perfect candidates: we are busy with the work that pays our large salaries, but we tend not to have as many major financial commitments as older techies.

My Money Story

In Resource Generation, we often introduce ourselves by sharing our “money story”, a personal narrative of our class background and experiences with money. This is always tough for me to turn into an elevator pitch, because my class experiences are varied and complex. Unlike many RG members, my money story does not start with … Continue reading »

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Setting Money Free! (with a low-stakes Giving Party)

Setting Money Free! (with a low-stakes Giving Party)

by Rachel Adler, RG Member

Every few months, I’ll make up a batch of my famous caramel corn and invite the Philly chapter of Resource Generation to my house for an hour or so on a weekday evening.  A few of them will show up, and we’ll sit on the couch and catch up for a while.  Then we’ll pull out our computers and our wallets, and for a while the only sound will be the typing of our credit card numbers and the cha-ching of our credit card balances rising.

I know what you’re thinking.  But no, we’re not shopping for our matching RG Philly chapter bejeweled and money-spangled jumpsuits.  Actually, this is a casual low-stakes giving party, and we’re clicking send on donations or loans.  We’re moving money in ways that are small, low-stakes, meaningful, casual, and to be honest, pretty fun.

I started moving money every month, usually about $300, pretty soon after I joined Resource Generation.  In contrast to annual giving, monthly giving allows me to be flexible and responsive with decisions about where to move money.

Here’s the process I usually use: over the course of the month, I keep a short running list of … Continue reading »

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Reflecting on New Ways to Connect

Reflecting on New Ways to Connect

Thanks to Veris Wealth Partners for allowing us to cross-post this article from their site.

by Lori Choi, Partner & Wealth Manager at Veris Wealth

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Transforming Family Philanthropy Retreat with an inspiring group of young people, all seeking to align their family giving and investing with social justice values.

Organized by Resource Generation (RG), the retreat was a thoughtful combination of racial and economic justice education, skill-building workshops around social justice, impact investing, and managing family dynamics. Veris was happy to sponsor this conference, and we were thrilled that several Veris clients attended as well.

This was my fourth time attending an RG retreat, and each past conference has influenced my views and understanding of social justice in some way. This time I found myself moved to apply the social justice philanthropy principles1 to the world of impact investing in new ways. In particular, the principles that resonated most deeply with me were focusing on the root causes of problems rather than the symptoms (e.g. through advocacy, organizing, and engagement), and involving those most impacted by the problem into the decision-making process.

Throughout the weekend, I kept asking myself – … Continue reading »

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No Guarantees

No Guarantees

by RG Retreat Organizer, Jes Kelley

I was born in rural Georgia in the deep South. The story always starts there, other pieces get a little hazier. We moved around a lot, throughout small towns in the Southeastern US. I switched schools many time before I was 10. My mom had a trick of giving me candy to bring in on the first day so that the new kids would like me. She was full of good tricks, as parents who are scraping by have to be. Beneath these clever mom tricks were deep life lessons; that we have to have some sweetness for one another in order to get by and always share what you have.

As we all do, I learned many lessons about race and class as a little one. For me, watching my mom struggle to make ends meet and decide which bills would go unpaid, I realized that it’s not just about how hard you work or how smart you are. You can work yourself to the bone and be clever as a fox but that’s no guarantee for economic stability. As we moved, my family sometimes lived in multiracial, majority people of color neighborhoods … Continue reading »

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Part of the web: Tracy and Cara on the RG Mentor Program

Part of the web: Tracy and Cara on the RG  Mentor Program

Cara from a Skype window

by Cara Romanik, RG member

Tracy is always in the same place when we talk:  her study in West Cornwall, Connecticut, at her desktop computer. There is a cherry-colored wall behind her, a bulletin board covered with mementos and pictures to her left. To the right is a bookshelf, and to the right of that, a window that must be north or east facing because of the quality of light it casts. Tracy has long, straight hair and wiry glasses, and when we connect, she usually laughs immediately at what I assume to be the pleasure and surprise of seeing me, all the way across the country, on a video screen, in real time.

Tracy Hewat, one of RG’s founding members, and I were paired up in RG’s alumni mentorship program last year. We met about once a month for an hour and a half, to discuss anything and everything having to do with money, class privilege, giving, change work, our lives. When I applied, I was 33, I had been involved in Resource Generation for seven years, and I was facing big questions: what leadership did I want to go after in the organization? … Continue reading »

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In Formation to End White Supremacy

In Formation to End White Supremacy


by Nicole Lewis

By now you’ve probably read a blog or two or three reacting to Beyoncé’s latest video, Formation. We haven’t seen this much Beyoncé-mania since she dropped her last self-titled  album without notice.

No matter if you love it or hate it – if you think Beyoncé is a feminist or anti-feminist – Formation has gotten us talking openly about race, resistance, political activism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. No doubt, we need celebrities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement creatively. We need to see our real lives reflected in the art around us. Art gives us another, and sometimes lighter, way into difficult, complex, or heavy topics. Unfortunately, systems don’t change because of one well-styled video or the subsequent chatter it generates. What we need now is sustained commitment to the work.

More Black “Bill Gates” Won’t End Racism 

Here at RG we’ve been thinking about the intersection of racism and class privilege for a long time. (In fact, I even wrote a book about it called Between a Silver Spoon and the Struggle).  We’ve found music is a major source of messaging about how people of color can overcome their circumstances and “make … Continue reading »

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Why I’m Going to Transforming Family Philanthropy 2016

Why I’m Going to Transforming Family Philanthropy 2016

by Monica

[Editor’s note: Register today for the 2016 Transforming Family Philanthropy Retreat: March 31 -April 3rd in Chester, CT.]

I joined Resource Generation in 2015, the year I became more involved with my family’s foundation. I have to admit, I joined halfheartedly because it seemed like the responsible thing to do. As my family’s foundation began to evolve, my role shifted from voting member over a fraction allotted to the “Grandchildren’s Fund,” into active, voting board member of our multigenerational family foundation. With my opinion and values being granted a new sort of legitimacy, I began to understand just how much power I had to effect real change for many organizations working to better the world.

As my dealings with my family’s resources grew, so did my influence — and yet, my financial knowledge remained the same: woefully ignorant. My first direct experience with Resource Generation was through the Transforming Family Philanthropy Retreat in 2015; a sizeable gathering of many young people like me, across the U.S. who are interested in learning to be responsible and active members of their families’ foundations. Until then I didn’t fully understand the purpose of RG or the resources that it can truly … Continue reading »

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Nintendo and Gameboys: My Introduction to Economic Privilege

Nintendo and Gameboys: My Introduction to Economic Privilege

by Faisal Alam, RG Events and Operations Associate

As the newest staff member of Resource Generation (RG), I was asked to write a blog post to introduce myself. Not knowing quite what to write (I have so many stories to tell!), I thought about the many identities I hold and their relationship to the work of RG. I’m a queer Muslim of Pakistani descent. I’m an immigrant from a middle class family background and now part of the working class in America struggling to make ends meet. I’m South Asian and a person of color.

Before the age of 10, I had lived in 3 countries on 2 continents (Germany, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan).  When I was 10, my family moved to a small town in Connecticut.  I grew up in a predominantly white town and in an upper middle-class neighborhood.  The US Census Bureau says the town is 92.1% white and median household income is $84,339.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was “different.” I was a 1.5 generation South Asian immigrant, Muslim and queer.

I learned about being the “other” very early on. Outside of the racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia that I experienced growing … Continue reading »

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A Community and Culture of Action at MMMC 2015

A Community and Culture of Action at MMMC 2015

by Zak Wear, RG member

Resource Generation’s 2015 Making Money Make Change conference brought me back to my home state of Maryland. I was excited to take the week to see my people, rake mom and dad’s leaves, eat, and get to know the people of RG.

Everyone has great ideas and wise words to share at a given conference. MMMC is certainly worthwhile for the purposes of intellectual, professional, activist or philanthropic development. If you’re considering going next year, I’d suggest attending for a much more fundamental purpose: come home to a community that shares confidence, clarity, and vision for a more just and sustainable future. There’s nothing too-cool-for-school about it– just be with us as we embark on the very personal work of bringing that future ever closer.

I couldn’t sleep on the second night at MMMC. Our retreat had a long, pitch-black road that dripped with the warmth of Chesapeake rains. As I ran the road my eyes adjusted and I saw the blonde, rolling fields glowing behind fully silhouetted forest. I know what my mind was doing up at 2am, running this run—it was trying very hard to reject the safety being shared by this group … Continue reading »

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Growing Visibility, Growing Roots: Engaging Durham with RG North Carolina

Growing Visibility, Growing Roots: Engaging Durham with RG North Carolina

By Maggie Heraty and David Roswell of RG North Carolina

As Resource Generation North Carolina has grown in numbers and deepened in scope, we have recognized the need to strengthen our base and be more public and active in our community. In Fall 2015 we hosted two events to help meet these needs. Our hope was to both recruit new members and build energy as well as share in the existing public conversation in Durham around class and social justice from our perspective as young people with wealth. We want to share our success story with other chapters interested in hosting similar events or going public in their communities. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or want to learn more:!

A full house at the screening of Inequality for All at The Duke Coffeehouse.

In September we hosted a public screening of the documentary Inequality for All, a film following former Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he examines the unequal distribution of wealth in the United States today.The screening was free and open to the public, and pizza was provided. We advertised the event to Duke University students and to Durham community members through postering, … Continue reading »

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