photo credit: CASEY TOTH — newsobserver.com

This spring, RG members from North Carolina participated in Moral Mondays—huge weekly gatherings opposing an extreme right wing agenda that successfully cut taxes on the rich and corporations, raised taxes on the bottom 80% of income earners, and drastically limited access to unemployment benefits, Medicaid, food assistance, abortions, and the right to vote.  The plan will leave the state short of $700 million per year, guaranteeing future cuts to education and other social programs. While Moral Mondays weren’t successful at stopping the tax and program cuts, momentum from the organizing has expanded into strong grassroots organizing for racial and economic justice throughout the state. Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

Liz Sullivan is on RG’s Board, and is a leader in our work with partners of young people with wealth.

I didn’t ease gracefully into being a partner of a young person with wealth. It was more like I stumbled and landed into the identity with a thud, a bewildered look of “how did I end up here and what do I do now?” on my face.

At first, it was easy to just ignore the fact that Alex had access to wealth – it certainly had nothing to do with me. When he went to family meetings twice a year, I admittedly didn’t ask many questions and when other people asked I told them something vague along the lines of “They have a family coach and they talk about taxes, I think.” This doesn’t mean there wasn’t an emotional charge to conversations around money; after one of these family meetings, Alex came home and handed me a book, saying “My parents thought you might find this helpful.” I looked down at the title, “Prenups for Lovers.” I literally threw the book across the room and said some choice words. Like I said, my transition was a little rough. Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

At RG, we like experiments. Really our whole existence as an organization is an experiment in what’s possible. Can we really organize young wealthy people for justice? What will that take? Can we do it with true cross-class leadership? In accountable, powerful and healthy ways?

These have been the questions we’ve been asking since we were founded in 1998 and we keep on pushing the envelope trying to stretch the limit of what’s possible.

A recent experiment in aligning our fundraising with our values happened this Spring with our first ever Movement Match. Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

I highly recommend readers to also watch the following 27 minute speech by Nandita Das, an Indian actress and social activist, on the meaning of identity and “the other” in today’s world.

Juggling multiple identities can be both a rough and empowering experience at many levels. And I don’t mean in the sense of the struggles of having multiple personalities. This blog post is not about that (although that psychological condition needs the recognition it deserves in it’s own right). I am talking about something that is more common in the world today – that is, the complexities of having multiple identities when one is also privileged. Many of us live in many worlds – whether as a result of class, race, sexual orientation, gender, one’s profession, choices, or otherwise. However, we also live in a world where there is a deep lack of recognition of the complexities of a person’s identity, a world in which things placed in neatly labelled boxes is the norm. In this blog, I attempt to provide a background on the vastly different aspects of my own identity, my struggles with it, as well as my attempt to use it in a positive manner.

My foray into having multiple identities started at the very young age of 6 months, when my family moved to Lusaka, Zambia. Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

The Philadelphia chapter of Resource Generation was recently published in the Non-Profit Quarterly, Philly.com, and Newsworks.org writing about how traditional philanthropy is harming Philly schools.  They call for higher taxes on the rich and democratic processes of public school funding to replace private decisions by wealthy individuals.

Read the whole piece below, and listen to an interview by RG Member Sarah Burgess here.

Philanthropy Won’t Save Philly schools; Rich People Should Pay More Taxes Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

This post is written by Emily Duma and Joe Kruse, two members of the RG Leadership Team in Minneapolis, MN. 

EMILY : Living in an intentional community, I get a lot of strange looks from relatives when I explain what I’m doing with my life. And when I tell them that I share money with my roommates, in a “common purse” set-up, they really think I’ve gone off the deep end. Which is quite ironic, actually, as practicing a common purse has been one of the most liberating, practical and life-giving things to happen to me post-college.

A little background on the community I live in: About two years ago, Joe, myself and two others decided to form an intentional community oriented around simplicity, sustainability and social change work in Minneapolis, MN. We call ourselves the Rye House (feel free to go to www.theryehouse.org if you want to see our dorky website), and in various ways attempt to use our skills, energy, cooking and home to support and enrich our community, stand in solidarity with those around us, and transform ourselves into folks who do more good, listen harder, and maybe feel a little more liberated in the process. Connecting with good people here in the Twin Cities quickly lead us to RG, and Joe and I joined a praxis group, as we wanted to examine the economic privilege we’d both been raised in and around.  It was through this relationship that we were asked to write this blog post.

How does the common purse work? Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

  I attended my first Resource Generation retreat, Making Money Make Change, in the Fall of 2010 at a retreat center nestled in the redwoods outside of San Jose, California. I spent those four days immersed in the stories of young people with wealth taking bold action, learning about powerful organizing across the U.S., getting to tell my full story for what felt like the first time. So much newness, so many new ideas and possibilities – all of this created this sense of expansiveness I had never experienced but had been so hungry for.

Three years later, RG has become a central part of my political life, a place where I can count on finding depth, trust, incisive questioning and a deep sense of home. In my conversations with folks who are new to RG, I often find myself claiming that “MMMC changed my life”. A little dramatic yes, but as cliché as it sounds, I say it because there’s a real current of truth in that – at the time I don’t think it felt that BIG and HUGE really, but attending MMMC that fall really did shift the course of my life. I can see how the political education and personal work that happened there, the possibilities it opened up, set so many of parts of my life in motion that are now indelible parts of my identity. This work, started at MMMC, is how I gave away my first major donations, how I started talking openly about my class background, how I started to become a part of social movements from a place of self-awareness rather than hiding.

So what happened at the conference? I cameto MMMC looking for political education around class privilege. I wanted to figure out how to give away the money I inherited in an ethical way, and in all honesty, wash my hands of it. But what I walked away from the conference with was what RG staff emphasized throughout that weekend – it’s not enough to take individual action; we need a critical mass of politically developed young people with wealth ready to throw down for movements that matter in order to change the shape of the economic power structures in this country. We need people who materially benefit from unjust power structures standing alongside and within grassroots movements for social change. At MMMC I was challenged to take on the task of organizing my people – to see organizing other young people with privilege, my family & my community, as a crucial part of the long, slow work of toppling the economic and political power structures of our country. So much of what I experienced prior to that around class was about hiding, about pushing and shaming, self-denying and guilt.

 MMMC is important. It’s a place to step away from our daily contexts, to go deep, to make connections, to get inspired. If you’ve never been to a national RG gathering, it’s a place to encounter the growing numbers of young people with wealth who are changing the shape of giving and organizing in this country and beyond. And maybe like me, you’ll find new openings, new paths and possibilities. Wherever it takes you, I look forward to walking that road alongside you!

Making Money Make Change is happening this year in Western Connecticut, Nov. 7-10. You can register at www.makingmoneymakechange.org before October 18th. Because MMMC has become very popular in recent years, we currently have a wait list. However, we anticipate that many people from the wait list will indeed be able to attend.  At this time we are holding attendance slots for young people of color with wealth, working-, middle-class and poor partners of young people with wealth, and confirmed pod leaders. Whether or not you identify with one of these categories, you should join the wait list. For more information, contact retreat director Tiffany Brown at tiffany@resourcegeneration.org.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

Originally posted on boldergiving.org. Jessan is a RG Member Leader in our Seattle Local Chapter.

In 2007, at 20 years old, I got my first job as an engineer. When I opened the offer letter from Google, I realized that my starting salary of over $100,000 would be more than anyone I’d ever been close to had made. I knew for sure that I didn’t want to structure my life around that salary, because then I would come to expect that lifestyle. I wanted to do something good with the money I didn’t need to live off of, but I wasn’t sure what.

I started giving in my first year at Google. They offered to match up to $3,000 in gifts and I wanted to take advantage of that. It was a little overwhelming to figure out where to give. I wanted to support progressive causes in the United States that would be transformative, rather than just address basic needs. I also wanted to give internationally because the US economy is based on taking disproportionate resources from the rest of the world. I wanted to give something back. I’m also passionate about  addressing violence against women. But I really didn’t know how to translate those interests into particular organizations to give to, so I just started doing my own research and asking friends for ideas. The book “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded” had a profound influence on my understanding of the non-profit world.

No matter how much I give away, the amount I earn creates a power difference between most everyone I am close to and me. I had started to feel really isolated in dealing with money and giving when I found the organization Resource Generation. Getting to know other young people with wealth was a big shift in my life. Being able to talk with others who also feel like they have more than they need helped me get unblocked. I created a giving plan, and have been increasing my giving every year since then. I was so moved by the change that being a part of Resource Generation made in my life that I have become a volunteer leader with them – organizing other young people with wealth to join us and to do great things with their giving. I never have imagined myself being this type of leader…I’m an engineer! Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

I’ve been involved for RG for three years now.  I’m proud to say that over that time I’ve given away far more money than I ever thought I would. I’ve been a part of growing a cross class giving circle and mutual aid funds.  I’ve organized my community to shift resources towards justice work.  It feels important not to see any of that as a small thing, and give my self credit for the work I had to do to get to a place where I was able to begin to move away from feelings of  scarcity around and entitlement over my wealth.  But over the past year it’s began to weigh on me that while I’m working to shift wealth towards grassroots social change, a large sum of money still sits in the stock market, investing in growing injustice.  I’ve also been disappointed with options to move resources to more socially responsible options, which often feel more like traditional investment dressed in new clothing than actually an investment in a radical shift of our economy.  I’m not convinced that any system in which I check my values off on a piece of paper – do I care about investing in sweatshop labor? or oil extraction? or tobacco? or alcohol?- aligns with my vision for a world in which all forms of injustice are unacceptable.

A bit on my story. My great grandpa immigrated to the United States, and settled in an industrial town outside of Chicago that was welcoming to Jews at the time. A generation later my grandpa - because of our ability to assimilate in to being white Jews – was able to access capital to put our family on a path towards upward mobility.  My grandpa worked extremely hard to grow the company, as did my father and uncle who at times worked 7 days a week to keep the business alive.  I deeply appreciate all they have given to create comfort and security for our family. And, there are a lot of people out there working very hard who – because of how systemic racism has played out in our society – are unable to access capital, who are unable to make enough to cover their basic needs.  I want to talk about investing in them and their solutions to how things could be different.

In order for this shift to happen, I see two things needing to happen. Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS

Burke Stansbury is a RG alumni and former board member and chapter leader. He currently lives in Seattle with his family.

In February of this year I invited my dad, Michael Stansbury, to participate with me in a giving project through the Social Justice Fund NW.  He was a little apprehensive at first and had a lot of questions, but he eventually agreed to do it.   So in March we jumped right in, becoming the first father-son team to engage in a SJF giving project together.

For me, it was a logical step to invite my dad in.  Since I started getting involved with Resource Generation nearly 10 years ago I’ve increasingly thought of myself as a “donor organizer.”  And what better donors to organize than your own parents, especially if they have more access to resources than you do?  In 2007, I worked with my parents to start a family foundation – actually a donor-advised fund with a concrete mission statement – and we meet annually along with my partner Krista to make a set of grants.  It’s been a fulfilling process, inspiring me to move even further into the realm of collective, de-centralized giving.  In 2010, I joined a group of Resource Generation members and community organizers in Washington DC in founding the Diverse City Fund, a foundation with a rotating grantmaking team made up of community leaders of color.

When I moved to Seattle last year I searched for a similar vehicle for giving, especially in light of the fact that I had been away from my hometown for nearly two decades and didn’t have a good sense of the organizing environment.  Which is where Social Justice Fund NW comes in.  Donating to SJF and participating in a Giving Project was the perfect way to align my values around democratized decision-making in philanthropy, while also building community across class and race. Continue reading

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • RSS