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 … Continue reading »
I grew up moving from ‘relatively comfortable’ to verifiably wealthy. I was well provided-for, and, provided for. I never had much monetary awareness -my family always told me we were upper-middle class. A few memories of attempts to learn more are met with dismissal or outright being laughed at. With friends, I never kept my wealth hidden; still, I genuinely preferred torn t-shirts and hand-me-downs to anything gaudy or ostentatious. So, as acquaintances became friends, and they learned more about me, there usually came a point when they would ask, “Dude, you wealthy?” And I would respond, introducing humor to deflate potential tension (a favored technique of mine – keep this in mind-heart as you read on), “Dependently wealthy, yeah”
And then my mom died.
I inherited her wealth. (Though I am relatively ‘out,’ I will keep a few things – including figures – private, for the sake of others). I stretched my brain over the ways I could most do good with this money. Give it all away? (Isn’t that the neo-liberal’s dream?) Buy my own home? (Isn’t that the American dream, and the obvious investment?) Invest in green energy and human rights. Be the benefactor of my loved ones and social circle. Put it all in this school I am founding. Save the world…
by Ari Sahagun
I don’t know about you, but for me, dedicating my life to environmental justice while holding investments in fossil fuels just doesn’t add up. As an RG member, actively looking to leverage my class privilege for justice and other values I believe in, I was encouraged to learn about the Divest/Invest Philanthropy group and attended a webinar to learn more.
Divest/Invest Philanthropy works with foundations and individuals to take investments out of fossil fuel companies and invest in a carbon neutral future.
I want to share this as a strategy that cultivates our hope for a future without fossil fuels, restores power to people most affected by climate change, and begins healing ourselves from the hurts we’ve inflicted on the natural world.
What follows are 3 key lessons I learned and some suggested next steps.
Iris Brilliant is the new Family Philanthropy and Impact Investing Organizer at Resource Generation. She grew up in the Marin County, CA and currently lives in a seven-person collective in Oakland, CA. Her first praxis group at RG was so transformative that it continues to meet, even after two years. She then joined the Bay Area Leadership Team, where she formed the first ever Jewish Praxis group, which explored the intersection of class privilege and Jewish identity and history. With a family background in philanthropy, Iris has been immersed in the philanthropic world since the age of fourteen, and has often found herself to be one of a few young adults at philanthropic conferences. As a result, she is passionate about supporting the leadership development of young adults in the philanthropic world and their implementation of social change values and practices into philanthropy. Previously, Iris was an editor at Make/shift Magazine, a feminist magazine based in Los Angeles,CA, and an intern at the Catalyst Project, a white anti-racist organization in San Francisco, CA.
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. (more…)
Interview of RG Alum Kristin Hull by Mike Gast, RG Associate Director, in the Summer of 2013. The focus of the interview was hearing from Kristin about what she has learned and why she is passionate about mission related investing.
Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Kristin Hull and I am an RG alum. I’m 45 and live with my two boys in Oakland, California, where I grew up and where I am now working to build HUB Oakland.
I first learned about RG, this fabulous organization for young people with wealth, when I was in my thirties, after my family had sold our trading business and, for the first time in my life, I knew I would have more money than I needed to live on. Knowing I would have money to give away, I had started searching out people who might help me along the path of putting the extra dollars to good use, people that were doing cool, social justice oriented things with their money. One of my sisters knew someone in the RG community and helped get me connected. (more…)