by Liz Sullivan, Partner Leadership Team

We’ve all been there (or, at least, I hope it’s not just me); it’s 3 pm, and even though you have things to do, the Internet beckons with cat pictures to laugh at, endless articles to read, and enough YouTube videos to keep you parked at your laptop until next week. The Internet can be a distraction for sure, but it turns out that it can also be a damn good place to connect with each other. The RG partner leadership team has recently harnessed this power of connectivity and launched a new Tumblr called RG Partner Stories.

There are many partners in the RG community, but we don’t often have opportunities to physically come together to share our stories. Partners may struggle in isolation with questions or feelings that are hard to share. As RG member leaders and partners, we created this Tumblr to break down the physical distance and teach other what it means for us all individually to be partners in cross-class relationships. It’s also a chance for us to get to know each other and connect personally. While our relationship with class status, both old and new, is a part of our identity, it’s not our whole identity. The Tumblr is a place to share, “this is what my partner experience is like” and a little bit of “and this is who I am!”

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On a panel at the 2010 Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy pre-Council on Foundations Conference, I presented four suggestions for social justice funders to consider. Below are each of these four.

Of the many approaches to social change, I turn most towards movement-building strategies. As a funder, then, I’m constantly searching for the ways that my practice and work best align with the demands of such an approach. Below is the first of four such ways that I’ve come to believe strongly in.
1. Find a Political Home

Social justice movements require scale and scale, in turn, requires a level of consistent connectivity among people and organizations. Political homes – community-based and led social justice institutions or organizations that individuals are members of and with whom there is mutual investment and accountability – provide exactly this. We should find and join such places not only to contribute to an organization’s work, but, more so, as a space in which to be grounded, to continuously learn, to develop organizing skills, and to be only a phone call away for when those unpredictable political moments that can define social justice movements occur. CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities has been my political home for the past seven years. Time and again, CAAAV has not only responded to events and political openings, but also intentionally expanded the opportunity for others like myself to participate in those responses, from the ’06 immigration marches to the first United States Social Forum in ’07 to ’08 voter engagement efforts in Virginia. Just as important, CAAAV allows me to participate in the often unrecognized day-to-day contributions that have been the backbone of every social movement. CAAAV, in short, facilitates my choosing to engage in action over indulging in apathy. And, it does so by offering strategic and coordinated ways to act with a community of people I’ve grown to trust.

As a funder, being a member of a community-based organization allows me to be in dialogue with those to whom I most want to be accountable. It affords me the opportunity to understand at a deeper and more personal level the conditions faced by organizations that I support through grantmaking and to understand the realities of building such organizations. Only through having a political home have I’ve been able to access the experience, political analysis and honest feedback with which to ensure that my work is relevant and complimentary to the many moving parts of our social justice ecosystem.

Like any home, political homes bring their own sets of challenges and demands on our time. But, in the same spirit, they also position us to engage and engage better the world around us, allowing you and me to start from a place of love and support to which we can always return.

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My name is Anna Goren, and I am involved in an RG praxis group in Seattle, WA. I have always been interested in philanthropy —growing up in a practicing Jewish household, we were always encouraged to give by the principle of tzedakah. My community is very generous, and also very wealthy. I witnessed from a young age how philanthropy works both in the traditional sense and in the subtler, informal ways that communities care for themselves and others, that are not reflected on a plaque or pledge card. As a recipient of both of these types (and the privileges that come along with it) I wanted to write an article that tells the story of the less visible forms of giving, and the different type of power associated with it.

The following is a version of a post from The Seattle Globalist, posted March 31, 2014.

American philanthropy is no lemonade stand.

It is a 1.5 trillion dollar industry, using 10% of the national workforce, made up of 1.1 million organizations.

Even since the economic downturn, international giving was still at $19.1 billion in 2012.

Washington, with the Gates’s, Nordstroms, Paul Allen, and others so deeply entrenched in the private wealth of this region (along with our street signs and wall plaques), ranks highly on the national scale of giving, 15th out of 51 states, according to a 2012 study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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Got a question for the second part in our #RichRoleModels series! What do you think?

 

 

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We all know that Resource Generation has some amazing ideas that should be spread far and wide. As part of my fellowship, I’ve been creating a series of images that will hopefully spread RG’s reach. The first one is about the Grimké Sisters!

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May
7
2014

Reposted from the blog, The Jew and The 5 Carats, written by RG member and leader Margot Seigle.

Transcript from speech at Hazon’s If Not Now Benefit April 1st, 2014 at the Brooklyn Green Building.

ifnotnowBefore I begin, I want to express some gratitude to my community.

To James for being such a crucial part of my growth over the few years, and for standing along side me on the path to this point. To the Resource Generation community for consistently challenging me while loving me right where I’m at.

To my GOLES family for taking me in and teaching me most everything I know about organizing and struggle.

To the Freedman community for giving me space to explore myself, be my full loud self, with loving care and kindness and an unyielding commitment to craft nights, singing whenever and wherever, and pre shabbos mikvahs.

To my radical jew chèvre for being the foundation on which I stand.

To my parents instilling in me a relentless pursuit of justice. To my brother Joel for joining me in our commitment to growing an interdependent and loving relationship.

To my ancestors – my grandma Lora who, realizing that having wealth no longer meant safety, paved the way to survival for her family by fleeing Germany on her own in 1946, at the age of 17. Continue reading

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Hello Resource Generation! My name is Colette Henderson and I became your new Membership Associate as of the beginning of this month. I come to RG and New York City from down south in Louisville, Kentucky where my passion and commitment for movement building was born. I’m so excited and happy to be here in this new chapter of my life and to participate in the great work of RG.

Let me start with a little background about myself. I was born in Seattle, Washington and was raised in Olympia, Washington. I moved to Indiana to attend Earlham College and after finishing there, I spent the next few years worming my way down to Louisville, KY where I planted for a little over a decade. In Louisville, I got a Master’s in Social Work because I was interested in working in mental health. Through formal work and practicum experience, I began to understand that there were many systems in place that made it impossible for people to succeed.  I began to see the plethora of inequity around me. I became less blinded to the racism and classicism that was built into our society and myself. My focus and interest shifted to social change and movement building and it’s where my heart has been ever since.

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Hey RG,

I’m writing to let you know I’ll be transitioning off staff in mid-July of this year, to pursue work with the Catalyst Project, an organization that has played a deep role in my own transformation, politicization, and growth as an organizer.  I’ve loved getting to work with RG members and staff, to experience and help grow the passion, creativity, dynamism, strategy and commitment of this incredibly important organization. I will be moving on from my job at RG, but I hope to remain close to the work and will be keeping my eyes out for opportunities for collaboration as we all continue to work toward an equitable distribution of land, wealth, and power. We’ll be posting for my job soon, so keep your eyes out for good candidates!

Isaac Lev Szmonko
Campaign and Chapter Organizer

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Dear RG Community, Friends and Colleagues,

After almost 6 years working at Resource Generation, I have decided to transition off staff August 31st of this year.

Helping grow and lead this community as an RG staff person has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Continue reading

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        I am writing to open a conversation about what it’s like to live and work rurally and be engaged as an activist with Resource Generation.  At this point I have more questions than answers, but I hope telling my story and asking these questions may provoke some thoughts, ideas, or dialogue in the community.

This past year, for the first time in my life, I moved to the country.  The move seemed long overdue, seeing as I have been a farmer for the past 10 years of my life.  Yet I spent the bulk of my farming career living in a city and bike commuting to its outskirts, where I leased two acres and ran a CSA farm.  Since I grew up in a city and attended college in yet another city, I was compelled to live urbanly, even as my work and my interests grew increasingly rural.  I felt I needed to be in a city to have the community, camaraderie and peer network I craved. Continue reading

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