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 »

Posted in: Action, Alumni, Class Privilege, Family Philanthropy, GIving, Racial Justice, Social Change | Tagged: , , , , ,

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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Finding Resource Generation from Canada

Finding Resource Generation from Canada

Each generation must, out of its relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.

-Frantz Fanon

I’m part of a generation (I’m 27) in North America that grew up being told that everyone should be born equal and have equal opportunity. I think my parents’ generation believed that so much they started to think of it as a reality, something already achieved, and not as a should-be, as something to aspire to. They were trying to believe in the dream of the civil rights movement. Believe it into reality, even if the work was so far from done. And so from a young age growing up in Toronto in a wealthy family I didn’t understand why people would choose to be poor. Why not just be rich? Everyone was given the same opportunities, after all.

Early in life I had somehow internalized the lesson of the inherent fairness of things. Being in middle and high school and trying to understand money and wealth at a society-wide level was confusing. At least it was for me. I wasn’t taught about the racial and gender divisions of wealth that have existed for hundreds of years here. Or about how that … Continue reading »

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Reflections on the campaign to fund Black liberation

Reflections on the campaign to fund Black liberation

Reflections on the campaign to fund Black liberation

In the last year, the movement for Black liberation has grown at an exhilarating pace.  Even as the systemic violence against Black lives continues, this social movement has built tremendous transformative power nationwide.  In the late summer and fall of 2014, we in RG realized that our organization needed to find ways to support this movement.  As young people with class privilege committed to the redistribution of land, wealth, and power, the most direct way that we could do that was through leading a fundraising campaign to give the movement resources to continue and grow.  We are proud that in the last year, RG has evolved into an organization capable of moving millions of dollars to the movement for Black liberation.  After the one-year anniversary of the Ferguson Uprising, we – Resource Generation members Ollie and Jason – want to reflect on the achievements and the challenges of the past year and our commitments to Black liberation movements going forward.  Many of the insights below come from our fellow RGers.    … Continue reading »

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Leaving the nest: why we became an independent nonprofit

Leaving the nest: why we became an independent nonprofit

I saw all the announcements about RG becoming an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Why are we talking about this again?

Great question. I may be a little biased as an operations geek, but I think it’s helpful to pull the curtain back and share with the RG community why we make certain decisions about our organizational development. We’ve also gotten some questions about the context for this transition so wanted to share more. If your eyes glaze over reading this kind of stuff, feel free to skip!

 

What is a 501(c)(3)?

Let’s get the legal jargon out of the way first:

Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations.

In plain terms, “501(c)(3)” is a tax code, but it is often used as shorthand to refer to nonprofits and foundations. If an organization applies for and receives designation from the IRS as a 501(c)(3) then they are exempt from paying federal income tax. The overwhelming majority of 501(c)(3) organizations in the US are nonprofits.

 

Why did RG become our own independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit?

For … Continue reading »

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