Check out our member’s op-ed in the Des Moines Register!

Check out our member's op-ed in the Des Moines Register!

When I was 18, I worked at a restaurant in Valley Junction and attended Des Moines Area Community College. It was a nice period of time. I had a steady routine and the elements of my life felt balanced.

I was washing dishes at the restaurant one afternoon when a regular customer stopped in to eat lunch and vent his frustrations with the government.

He complained that lazy, undeserving college kids such as myself were squandering his tax dollars. I listened intently to his rant, curious about the rationale of a man who called me lazy while I was at work. His anger was palpable and I was shaken by his words. He made the types of disparaging remarks that are often aimed at the working class. When he berated others for their use of government assistance programs, my heart hurt as a trust fund baby, the real welfare queen.

I am grateful for my family and the access I experience, while simultaneously feeling the magnitude of societal dysfunction and widening inequality. As someone who receives portions of a real estate development fortune, I benefit from the kinds of government handouts that make such substantial private profit possible.

Meanwhile, I … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Leading on Wealth Redistribution as Young People of Color with Wealth

Leading on Wealth Redistribution as Young People of Color with Wealth YAHYA ALAZRAK

The first year I went to Making Money Make Change (MMMC), my life was changed.

I see all too often across communities of color the ways trauma can lead us to use the tools of capitalism, classism, and white supremacy in an attempt to find a sense of security that we and perhaps many of our ancestors were lacking.

Yahya Alazrak, featured, at this spring’s March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice with Resource Generation members and staff.

I’m a light-skinned person of mixed Arab/North-African and White heritage and come from a mixed-class background having mostly been raised in a poor to middle-class home with my mom and having access to a wealthy father and family*. That looked like free and reduced lunch during the year, counting coins sometimes to keep the lights on, and then spending summers on jet-skis with a family with net wealth around ~$15 million. My dad has given me cash gifts ranging from $1,000 to $25,000, but I have negative net wealth because of student loans I took out when I stopped talking to my dad for a few years. That is to say, parsing out my story, like for so many people of … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog, Young People of Color with Wealth

Why MMMC, Why Now, and What’s Next?

Why MMMC, Why Now, and What's Next?

Have you registered for Making Money Make Change (MMMC) yet?

This year MMMC is November 9-12th outside of NYC. Register here.

Last year’s MMMC happened right after the election. Less than a year later, it’s hard to comprehend how much has changed. Before the inauguration, there was a small surge in collective giving; grassroots organizers called it the “Trump Bump.” Social justice movements don’t need a short-term donation “bump” but instead need everyone’s sustained care, funding, and time. We need more young people of color with wealth and more white people with wealth working towards social, economic, and racial justice in this time and at all times.

Making Money Make Change is a chance to gather skills, knowledge, and community in order to resist what’s coming and what’s already here. We’ll do this in workshops and panels on classism, the racial wealth gap, and more including:

Funding our Collective Liberation presented with Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT) How to Create a Social Justice Giving Plan in Turbulent Times presented with Northstar Fund Land-Based Reparations presented by Black Land and Liberation Initiative Centering Love in Investment: Returning the Heart to this Work with ReGenerative Finance

All of MMMC’s workshops are Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

About that New York Times piece, “What the Rich Won’t Tell You…”

About that New York Times piece, "What the Rich Won't Tell You..."

In a piece published last week in the New York Times, “What the Rich Won’t Tell You,”[1] Rachel Sherman shares her research of how wealthy, mostly liberal, people hide some of the clues that they’re among the richest people in the country — self-hating benefactors of a deeply unjust and racist economic system. I grew up in a wealthy family; I have lived through countless situations where downplaying my wealth was positioned both as the polite and the moral thing to do. But unlike the families mentioned in Sherman’s piece, my discomfort with my wealth wasn’t tamed by ‘hiding tags’ or ‘bragging about shopping at Target.’ I found my way to Resource Generation, a nonprofit founded by young, wealthy, progressive women in partnership with poor and working class leaders to figure out how wealthy people can be transparent about their class and access to wealth in order to better support movements for economic and racial justice.

Hiding or staying silent about our wealth and class empowers a deeply unjust and racist economic system. The truth is, the compulsion to hide your class or wealth isn’t about politeness at all; it’s your gut telling you that your lifestyle (being able to … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

#DefendDACA — Resource Generation Stands with Immigrant Youth

#DefendDACA -- Resource Generation Stands with Immigrant Youth

We stand with the immigrant youth and families that are being targeted by the Trump administration’s announcement to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the next six months. No human being is illegal, period.

Today’s announcement is the most recent in a long list of violent, racist moves by the Trump administration targeting immigrants, refugees, Black people, and people of color — including the Muslim ban, covering for white nationalists in Charlottesville, pardoning Sheriff Arpaio from his ruthless and disgusting crimes, and rescinding the ban on military gear for local police.

In perpetuating white supremacy, xenophobia, and racism as an alleged means to create ‘safety’ or ‘economic security,’ the Trump administration is re-enacting tactics that have been deployed by the overwhelmingly white and wealthy ruling classes for generations. Hoarding wealth, exploiting poor and working-class communities, gutting corporate regulations, and forcing austerity on the 99% are the causes of economic insecurity, not immigrants. As young people with wealth who believe in another way — a future where wealth, land, and power are equitably shared — we need to show up today to be in solidarity with immigrant youth and #DefendDACA.

Show up. Today (Tuesday, September 5th) is a massive Continue reading »
Posted in: Blog

Outclassed: wealth, the myth of meritocracy, and affirmative action

Outclassed: wealth, the myth of meritocracy, and affirmative action

Universities have long been a political battleground representing some of the United States’ most deeply held beliefs about meritocracy, who belongs, and who is “deserving” of higher education. I’m an Asian American who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The political currents swirling around my alma mater land in a particular way for me as a young wealthy Asian American alumnus who cares about racial justice and whose family has benefited from affirmative action.  

UNC is a public university built by enslaved Black people in 1789 and was only open to white wealthy Christian men until 1887 (when white women were admitted) and didn’t admit its first Black students until 1951. UNC has been deeply shaped by white supremacy and segregation and the measures it has taken to repair some of the harm through affirmative action are currently being challenged. A lawsuit filed in 2014 alleges, “Sadly, Asians in particular are being discriminated against at UNC because lesser-qualified African-Americans, Hispanics — and even whites — are gaining admission at the expense of better-qualified Asians.”  (This is not true – in fall 2016 the first-year class of UNC was 14% Asian American when Asians represent about 3% … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

From Trust Fund to Funding Trust

From Trust Fund to Funding Trust

This past June, I made a gift of $80,000 to a social justice foundation in Boston called Haymarket. Simply put, I was able to give away $80,000 because I got it from my parents. The day after I graduated from college, they sat down with me in my half-packed bedroom and let me know that I was the owner of a trust fund worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. This was news to me, but it wasn’t exactly a shock; thanks to my parents’ careers in finance, I’d grown up squarely in the 1%, complete with fancy vacations, beautiful apartments, and four years at a boarding school where every freshman had their own horse. (Yes, that is a real thing.)

I stumbled across Resource Generation’s website a year later. (I found RG on the internet, of course — where else do millennials find things?) At the time, I’d done basically nothing with the money in my trust fund. Whenever I thought about it, I felt a wave of anxiety. I cared about building a more just and equal world and I knew that holding onto the money went against those values. But what if I gave it away and then … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog, GIving

“As the South goes…” – Our Reflections on Charlottesville

“As the South goes…” - Our Reflections on Charlottesville

We’re sharing with you some reflections on Charlottesville and why organizing young people with wealth toward economic and racial justice is so increasingly critical.

As Southerners from different class backgrounds, Iimay Ho, our Executive Director, and Jes Kelley, our Retreat Organizer, were both deeply impacted by what happened this weekend and are uniquely situated to share their reflections on this moment.

From Iimay
The events of this past weekend struck close to home. I have friends and comrades who were in Charlottesville as part of the counter-protest. I was a Virginia resident for nine years (I just recently moved to D.C.) and have visited Charlottesville. When I’m in Charlottesville I’m reminded of my college days at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Both UNC and the University of Virginia were founded in the late 1700s/early 1800s. Both are gorgeous campuses with lush green quads and red brick Colonial buildings. Both were built by enslaved Africans and African-Americans and the names of slaveholders adorn the buildings. At UNC, the statue of Silent Sam stands as a memorial to the UNC alumni who fought for the Confederacy. Friday’s white supremacist torch-bearing rally at UVA converged around a group of counter-protesters … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

On the Road for Wealth Redistribution

On the Road for Wealth Redistribution

I just returned from my first chapter visits as an Executive Director. When I started this role back in January I wanted to prioritize meeting as many chapter members in person as possible. In both current and previous position (before becoming the ED, I was the Associate Director from August of 2014 through December of 2016) at Resource Generation I haven’t had many chances to interact with chapter members outside of national retreats. As someone who got my start in RG through a chapter (shout out to the D.C. chapter!), I miss the day-to-day interactions with members and getting grounded in a local context. I also wanted to hear directly from our members what is exciting them about RG and what feedback they have for our work.

Iimay with Bay Area POC chapter members.

So I’ve been working with our staff organizers to plan my (much scaled-down version) of the 50-state Presidential tour and started out West with the Bay Area chapter.

The chapter organized a meet-and-greet lunch in Oakland for POC (people of color) members. Nine people attended, some for their very first RG event, and some driving from over an hour away. After introductions, we had a conversation … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

How I Facilitated Conversations About Money with My Extended Family

How I Facilitated Conversations About Money with My Extended Family

By Margi, RG member

My Mini Praxis Group with Aunts and Uncles

I grew up in an owning-class family and didn’t know it. My parents chose to live their daily lives within the means of their salaries, but subtly used inherited wealth to assist with big expenses like my education and buying our home. I was probably eight when I asked my mom what ‘class’ we were and I remember she said upper-middle-class. I grew up in Alaska knowing I was fortunate, but thought that I wasn’t that different from my peers (most of whom are, in reality, middle-class).

I didn’t realize my family was rich until my final years of high school. I started to put it together when:

I realized how much more often my family traveled than my friends’ families (we travelled often both to see relatives scattered across the U.S. and to faraway countries); When I told my public school counsellor I was transferring to private boarding school on the other side of the country (she said the school sounded like a place her kids would like to go… then balked when she saw price tag and informed me that’s more than many pay for college… Continue reading »
Posted in: Blog