In one year of Resource Generation membership, I have increased my giving from around $100 to $10,000 a year, which is 5% of my net wealth, and started organizing my family and friends to give.
Even before I learned that my inheritance was a direct result of economic exploitation, extractive ecological practices in the tech industry, and institutional racism on Wall Street — my inherited money simply never felt like “my money.”
Three years ago, I inherited $100,000 from my grandfather after he passed. I felt a whirling mix of emotions after receiving my grandfather’s inheritance: grief for his passing, shame over the amount of wealth, and confusion about what in the world to do with this money. It was thrust into my life out of my control — just as I was thrust into this world as a white Jew, a person with class privilege, a genderqueer person. A few years later, I was given $100,000 worth of stocks by my parents.
In the back of my mind, I remembered a friend mentioning Resource Generation (RG), a group for wealthy young people who care about social justice. I knew I needed clarity and support, so I reached out to RG leaders in New York City to join a praxis dialogue group. These are intimate spaces for young people with wealth to unlearn harmful class patterns and commit to social, racial, and economic justice together.
This is merely the beginning for me as I continue to grow and be lovingly challenged. In the 20 years since its founding, RG has mobilized thousands of young people with wealth to become transformative leaders and to commit to creating a world with a just distribution of wealth, land, and power. For RG, I hope this is just the beginning, too. In 20 more years of a thriving RG community so much more could be possible.
In my Jewish tradition, we say Olam Ha‑Ba, the World To Come. To me, the World To Come is not a heavenly realm in the sky, separate from humanity and the Earth. Olam Ha-Ba is this very world, transformed into one of sacred harmony, love, and justice.
In the World To Come, our leaders will be queer femmes of color, indigenous womxn, and Two-Spirit people. Instead of the Democratic National Convention and the NRA, we will have the Roundtable on Loving Governance and the Center for Peace and Justice. Black Lives Matter will be redundant, prisons abolished, cops replaced by neighborhood caretakers and community wellness leaders. Nation-states, binaries, and borders won’t exist. Local communities will self-determine and thrive. No one will be locked up in a cage simply for being alive — not on Rikers Island, not in Gaza. #MeToo won’t need to exist — unless to say “I love you, too.” History will be acknowledged and reckoned with, harm atoned for and healed. The Earth will be known as our most sacred ancestor and home. We will treat the Earth with reverence, treat each other with dignity.
I am envisioning and dreaming but these dreams are possible. And we can and must play our part within the whole to make this a reality.
Getting caught in shame, doubt, guilt, or obsessive reflection obscures my responsibility to be present and meet the specific conditions of my life. Through contemplative practice, sacred community, and visionary organizations like Resource Generation, I am slowly learning to commit to living with truth, love, and justice at every scale.
Living into these values as a young, white person with wealth is not easy. Most of what I have learned for most of my life has been training me to do exactly the opposite — to consolidate and hoard wealth, land, and power, to ignore (or sometimes cause) the suffering and oppression of everyone else. The world is not broken, it is crying out in pain, and we need to respond. We need to stop causing harm. We need to practice healing and liberation.
But for humanity to survive, and hopefully thrive, there are no other options. I must live into my commitment to racial, economic, gender, disability and all forms of justice.
What does all of this have to do with becoming a dues-paying member of Resource Generation? Well, building movements requires money. And as young people with wealth, we have it. For many of us, we have quite a lot of money. And we are in the midst of a $31 trillion intergenerational transfer of wealth, the largest in U.S. history. Resource Generation plays a unique and pivotal role in the movement landscape by catalyzing the financial support for resistance led by and for those most impacted — as a result of becoming a member of RG, young people with wealth give away on average 16-times more money to grassroots movements than they did before.
Will we hide our inheritances and trust funds away in overseas bank accounts and repressed fears? Or will we heed the call of the marginalized everywhere to live into our responsibility and support the creation of a just world?
J Schild (they/them) is a member-leader of RG’s NYC chapter.
1. CNBC, Promises, problems on horizon as $30T wealth transfer looms