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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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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How will you Invest in a Just Transition?

How will you Invest in a Just Transition?

This story originally appeared on the Regenerative Finance website. 

Wowzers! Regenerative Finance just got back from Resource Generation’s annual conference Making Money Make Change (MMMC) and we are feeling inspired to act, excited to follow-through on commitments and challenged to dig deeper in confronting racism in our economy and in our lives.

This year Regenerative Finance partnered with Resource Generation on the Igniting Action booth. The purpose of the booth was to allow participants (who spent 4 days exploring how to leverage their access to resources towards a just and equitable world) to ground their learning and commit to taking action in the world!

Through this exercise we tried to demystify finance and show the ways it distances us from our complicit participation in the extractive economy. When we draw connections–from mountaintop removal to luxury gated communities to prison labor–we can better understand what we mean when we say “extractive.” Similarly, as we imagine and visualize the economy that we want and need, we can take inspiration from the work that many are already doing, and set bold goals to help us get there. We were thrilled to partner with Resource Generation on this project, as their recently released … Continue reading »

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Meet the 1 percenters finding solace in wealth redistribution

Meet the 1 percenters finding solace in wealth redistribution

This article was originally posted at Waging Nonviolence.

By Kate Aronoff

In a political and economic system seemingly tailor-made for the 1 percent, backlash against “wealth therapy” — the trend of moneyed Americans seeking counsel through their Occupy-induced feeling of shame and isolation — is well-placed. While the top 0.1 percent of families in the United States possess as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, money psychologist Jamie Traege-Muney moaned to The Guardian that the movement wrongly “singled out the 1 percent and painted them globally as something negative.”

But a growing cadre of this statistical owning class are now crafting a healthier relationship to the rabble at their doorstep. Responding to Occupy and other movement moments, young people with wealth are organizing the resources of their peers and families to level the playing field — and support one another in the process.

“It’s not that I disagree that having wealth in this society is uncomfortable,” said organizer and donor Farhad Ebrahimi. “But treating it is not about individual therapy or even engaging in philanthropy or charity. It’s about collective action.” As a teenager, Ebrahimi was gifted a pool of wealth from his high-tech entrepreneur father. Growing up … Continue reading »

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MMMC 2015: It will all be okay!

MMMC 2015: It will all be okay!


Hi, my name is Mahi.


I am part of the host-committee for MMMC 2015.
I will tell you about my involvement with RG and MMMC 2014 last year.

When I moved to Colorado, it was because of money.

I couldn’t find a job as an engineer in Minneapolis, Minnesota and didn’t have an income.
So, I married a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered man and left.

My parents have wealth.
I stand to inherit wealth, and don’t have direct access to wealth.
(I learned to say these lines confidently after attending MMMC 2014.)

So, when I moved to Colorado, I was lonely.
I learned about RG through a South Asian listserv, and I joined.
I developed an RG crush on our chapter leader Mac Liman.
Our relationship was activist polite.

Then suddenly she began calling. A lot.… Continue reading »

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“Recovery” and Possibility for Philanthropy

"Recovery" and Possibility for Philanthropy

 by Willa Conway and Cara Romanik

On one of the first hot sticky days of June, a group of RG New Orleans chapter members and local organizers came together for an outdoor meeting to discuss our engagement with the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as donor-organizers. First we went around the circle sharing what we love about summer –fresh food and swimming and the slowness of time in hot months– then we got to thinking about the last ten years. What we know is that individuals and foundations gave unprecedented amounts of money after the storm: $2.97 billion in aid by January 2006, and a total of $6.5 billion* between 2005 and 2015 designated for recovery efforts. New Orleans is now being held up as a model for disaster relief and recovery funding. But there were still so many questions: Where did all that money go? How was it distributed? Who benefited? What was philanthropy’s role in impacting the direction of recovery? What do our ideal funding relationships look like? And finally, how can philanthropy support more equitable distribution of resources going forward?

A narrative of progress dominates the story of Katrina’s recovery.  Much has been made in national … Continue reading »

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