1% for Redistribution

1% for Redistribution

It has been two years since our last national retreat for young people involved in their family’s philanthropy, and this year’s Transforming Philanthropy retreat from March 22-25 in Pomona, CA included many changes and innovations. First of all, we have changed the name of the retreat from Transforming Family Philanthropy to Transforming Philanthropy because we are now including high net wealth individuals — those in the top 1% who have access to $1M or more in liquid assets — in the retreat.

Second, we piloted our giving pledge at our action booth. Resource Generation has always encouraged members to increase their giving and provided the skills, education, and training to our members to do so. However we have not had had a standard approach or guidelines for moving our members to give more and more of their net assets away, and we experimented with a beta version of our giving guidelines at the retreat.

Packed room at Transforming Philanthropy’s opening plenary, Leveraging Privilege

The giving guidelines go from starting the journey by giving a percentage of capital gains and dividends (returns from the stock market), to pausing wealth accumulation by giving at least 7% of net assets (7% is the … Continue reading »

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On Abolishing Inheritance and the Untapped Potential of Poor People

On Abolishing Inheritance and the Untapped Potential of Poor People

Some kids have to grow into their ears; I had to grow into my fingers. They were long enough to catch the eye and spark commentary. People would say I had piano fingers and as a young person I took pride in that. Any indication of potential specialness was of great interest. I never so much as saw a piano as a kid though, and as I got older, there was some sense of missed opportunity… that I could have been something special but it was passing me by.

Jes with two of her housemates, Delilah the dog and Rosalina the cat.

In high school, I went to the piano and voice recitals, art shows, and musicals of my friends. I thought I’m so lucky to know so many talented people. I wish I was talented like them. I thought that they were just inherently better, luck of the draw. It wasn’t in my young mind to factor in how many dollars went into their private lessons. I didn’t know to think about how flexible their parents’ schedules had to be or how much it cost for a childcare provider to drive them to those lessons. I didn’t factor in … Continue reading »

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Brief Reflections on Janus vs AFSCME and the Importance of Public Sector Unions

Brief Reflections on Janus vs AFSCME and the Importance of Public Sector Unions

Looking for Iimay’s blog post about Transforming Philanthropy? Go here.

On Monday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Janus vs AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which challenges the legality of “fair share fees” that all public workers who are represented by a union automatically pay to the union to cover the cost of the union’s collective bargaining on their behalf. The fair share fees are a primary source of revenue for public sector unions, since public sector unions are required to represent both members and non-members,

I grew up in an anti-union, “right-to-work” state — an intentionally misleading term for laws designed to defund unions by making it illegal to collect fair share fees. These laws make it harder for working people to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. In North Carolina, this looks like having the second to lowest union membership rate in the country and ranking 35th in the nation for teacher pay.

The supporters of Janus vs AFSCME want to expand the devastating impact of anti-union ‘right-to-work’ laws to all public sector unions in the country. Public sector unions represent the last stronghold of organized labor … Continue reading »

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What I Learned From a Multi-Racial, Cross-Class Fundraising Project

What I Learned From a Multi-Racial, Cross-Class Fundraising Project

Our giving project cohort. I’m second from the left in the front row of the pic with the pillars in the background.

I got involved with Resource Generation about four years ago when my roommate invited me to an RG open house. The generational wealth in my family comes mostly from family businesses, including real estate and manufacturing boots for U.S. soldiers in the Panama Canal Zone (both of which are directly connected to colonization). Raised in an upper-middle-class neighborhood with semi-secret trust funds totaling $210,000 (today that number is about $135,000, with the difference mostly given back to the communities from which it originally came), I dropped out of undergrad after my first year and was working as a carpenter’s apprentice when I went to my first RG event. Although I genuinely love trade work, I also knew that I couldn’t resolve my feelings about class and wealth by simply running away and shunning the wealthy community and identity I grew up in. I appreciate the opportunity RG gives me to embrace my wealthiness and work with my people to change the role we to play in the oppressive class system (and dismantling it).

This past winter and spring Continue reading »

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Meet Ekundayo Igeleke, RG’s Chapter Organizing Director!

Meet Ekundayo Igeleke, RG's Chapter Organizing Director!

Peace RG! My name is Ekundayo (sorrow to joy) Igeleke, the new Chapter Organizing Director. I often do not write about myself, let alone share it with the world but this is my attempt.

RG is new for me in many ways:  Working with a cross-class staff, organizing people with wealth and class privilege, the culture and language of our base, working remotely, and much more.

I grew up in a culturally southern Black family and I also grew up in a Nigerian family structure. My Nigerian family has a “no excuse” mentality and values hard work and personal sacrifice for ones family. I was taught that I had to be better than everyone else because of my melanin so nothing less than a “A” grade was acceptable. As an immigrant, my father sought liberation through “ethical” financial means and through formal education. He wanted my sister and me to be doctors or in the STEM field to secure high paying jobs and to ultimately accumulate wealth.

We clearly did not listen because I am an organizer and my sister is an educator. Our wealth is serving the community rather than individual financial success or whatever success mean in the Continue reading »

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New Fundraising Policy and Updated Definition of Wealth

In RG’s 20th anniversary year we are proud to rollout two innovations which will take our work of organizing young people with wealth for the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power to the next level by being more clear, public-facing, and transparent about our work. These are defining “wealth” in “young people with wealth” and shifting from a strict non-solicitation policy to leaning into our role as movement funders and fundraisers. Both of these changes have been years in the making and a response to member, board, and external partner feedback.

Staff drafted the policies in 2017 and then hosted two all-member calls (open to wealthy members and Advocate members) and released a survey to our membership to give input. We revised the policies to integrate member feedback and then the 15-person National Member Council (NMC) had a chance to give input. Members of the NMC also brought their chapter’s feedback to the full NMC convening. Staff then integrated NMC feedback and presented final versions of the policies to be approved by the Board of Directors in Sept, 2017.

Definition of wealth (Defining “wealth” in “young people with wealth”) Updated fundraising policy Definition of wealth (Defining “wealth” in Continue reading »
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Some Words of Wisdom from Our Outgoing Development Director

Some Words of Wisdom from Our Outgoing Development Director

When I considered writing an outgoing blog post regarding my time at Resource Generation, I was challenged most by narrowing down what to talk about. It was a combination of feeling intimidated that I would have any wisdom or heart to impart on this growing community, but also the huge range of things I learned from being here, and if I could get them all down on coherently.

Resource Generation is a unique space that puts one in constant questioning. As a non-wealthy staff member, it was and is unique to me because I don’t know any entity where highly privileged folks gather to attempt to change some of the most challenging social issues facing our country. No matter how messy it has been, this work is a necessity. The day-to-day can be frustrating, difficult, but also illuminating, and joyful. Sometimes it was hard to work here but often my heart was with all of us who work in a community where we (rightfully) receive heavy scrutiny.

I wanted to name that first because you are all living, breathing, deserving human beings that I believe want to do the very best in this world. Regardless of class background, we are … Continue reading »

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As The South Transforms, So Do We All

As The South Transforms, So Do We All

I was born and raised in North Carolina, and Southern values of community, hospitality, and mutual aid run deep for me. Even though I no longer live in the South, its ways infuse all of my organizing. I first learned what community organizing was through my internship with Southerners on New Ground (SONG) back in 2008. SONG is a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. Through meeting with members over meals and through long conversations on porches and in living rooms, bars and churches, the pragmatism, heart, and patience of Southern organizing became clear to me. Even if we did not always agree with – or even like – each other, we treated each other like kin, knowing that building long-term relationships were our greatest strength.

Iimay in 2014 at Resource Generation’s ‘Transformative Leader Institute’ at Highlander Center in Tenn. attending as a D.C. chapter leader

After being steeped in Southern organizing, I was disappointed when I moved to DC and experienced firsthand many national advocacy organizations either ignoring the South entirely or only wanting to parachute in to push short-term, top-down campaigns that undermined the place-based, … Continue reading »

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How I’ve Benefited from Tax Evasion & Wealth Hoarding at 26

How I've Benefited from Tax Evasion & Wealth Hoarding at 26

I’m writing this in the midst of the reality of the Senate tax bill sinking in. I’m writing this as someone who personally has benefited from tax evasion and wealthy people hoarding wealth. I’m writing this as an anarchist who doesn’t believe that the state is interested in our liberation. I feel mad with waves of heat in my body; I feel fired up for change.

Here’s what I know.

My dad has made a lot of money over the years in Morocco passing through his trading of plastic raw materials as agricultural products (taxed much lower in Morocco). This loophole has let my dad undercut a lot of plastics importers and make a lot more wealth trading than we used to as just manufacturers.

When I ask why, he points to government corruption.

When I ask my 17-year-old brother what he thinks the biggest issue facing Morocco is, he says, government corruption. When I follow up and ask “what about poverty? do you think poverty should exist?” He says, “Without poverty, we couldn’t be rich, poverty has to exist.”

I cannot explain to you the myriad ways my heart broke hearing that. Because of his youth, because he’s my … Continue reading »

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Reflections on Making Money Make Change 2017

Reflections on Making Money Make Change 2017

This year’s Making Money Make Change (MMMC) conference in Stony Point, NY was the largest and best MMMC I’ve attended since I started on staff back in 2014. MMMC is Resource Generation’s signature conference, and is the only conference in the country that specifically brings together young people with wealth (age 18-35) to build community, gain skills around financial literacy and giving, and learn how to move their resources to support social, economic, and racial justice.

This year’s conference had 100 young people with wealth in attendance. Taking place a year after the elections, there was a strong sense of clarity and urgency about the role of young people with wealth to step up in this political moment and challenge the massive racial and wealth inequality at the root of so much suffering in our country.      

This was my fourth MMMC and my first one as Executive Director. What stood out to me about this conference was the energy in the space, people’s willingness to move into action, and our growth as an organization in emphasizing campaigns, working across class, and the moral imperative of redistribution.

The Leveraging Privilege panel (recorded video here) forefronted the message of interdependence, not doing … Continue reading »

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