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 »

Posted in: Class Privilege | Tagged: , , , , ,

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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What We’ve Learned After a Decade of Climate Funding, and What We’re Doing Instead

What We’ve Learned After a Decade of Climate Funding, and What We’re Doing Instead

Farhad Ebrahimi – RG alumni member and long-time major supporter of RG – on strategy and movement-building with his  foundation. Lots of juicy nuggets and modeling of social justice values and transparency in philanthropy. This post originally appeared at Medium. Read on!

Vivian Huang, Campaign and Organizing Director at Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Philanthropy isn’t necessarily known for making long-term commitments. It is, however, known for making big announcements. At the Chorus Foundation, we’ve just made a big announcement about a set of long-term commitments, and I’m really excited to be able to share the good news with you today. To borrow from our official statement for a moment:

The Chorus Foundation is pleased to announce that it has identified three frontline communities to receive eight years of grant support to speed a just transition to a regenerative economy that works for people, places, and planet.

These communities—in Alaska; Richmond, California; and Buffalo, New York — serve as inspiring examples of how communities across the country are building a new economy based on the principles of broadly shared economic prosperity, democratic governance and ownership, and climate justice.

Our commitment to each community is, at minimum, $500,000 per year … Continue reading »

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Voices of Color from Resource Generation: Reflections on the current state of violent xenophobia in the U.S. and in the world

Voices of Color from Resource Generation: Reflections on the current state of violent xenophobia in the U.S. and in the world

In the last couple of weeks (and years), we’ve seen another marked rise in white supremacy – horrific violence against Black communities, and escalation of Islamophobia and fascism (Syrian refugee crisis, Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim plans). We also send our heartfelt condolences to victims of the San Bernardino shooting, and can’t help but notice the differential treatment when a shooter is White versus Black, Brown, Muslim.

At this time, it is critical to connect these acute and violent xenophobias, and show how they are related to extreme economic inequality. According to the Billionaire Bonanza report released earlier this week, “the Forbes 400 now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population – plus  more than a third of the Latino population – combined.” Race has been constructed to justify class hierarchies and so, in order to end xenophobia, we must end classism and economic inequality. It is necessary to stand together and speak out in solidarity. Here are some reflections from leaders of color within Resource Generation.… Continue reading »

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Self-worth > Net Worth: Kirin’s Story

Self-worth > Net Worth: Kirin's Story

Hey RGers! My name is Kirin Kanakkanatt (she/her).  I joined the team as a National Organizer earlier this month. I am from Ohio and based in Brooklyn until May 15th, when I will make the trek out west to join Iris Brilliant, our Family Philanthropy Organizer,  in the Bay Area. I am so excited to begin as the chapter organizer for Seattle, Portland, Denver/Boulder & New Orleans!

In the spirit of RG’s tradition of organizing through our personal stories, I wanted to share my money story. As a queer first generation South Asian cis-femme, my experience is situated at the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality.  I grew up brown & queer in a predominantly white & heteronormative area. I grew up an immigrant in a town of settlers.  I grew up middle class in the middle of America.  

My understanding of my family’s class background, for most of my life, was that we were upper middle class. It wasn’t until the recession hit in 2008 that I began to understand that while my parents earned enough to situate us in upper middle class, we were solidly working middle class.

As it turns out, assimilation is expensive and will … Continue reading »

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