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 »

Posted in: Blog

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 »

Posted in: Blog

Why Young People with Class Privilege Won’t Stand for the #TrumpTaxScam

Why Young People with Class Privilege Won’t Stand for the #TrumpTaxScam

Taxes are one of the biggest ways that wealth in this country is redistributed — often aggressively redistributed from poor, working-class, and middle-class communities to the already wealthy as exemplified in the most recent Republican tax bill. As reported in the New York Times, by 2027, people getting $40,000 to $50,000 a year pay a combined $5.3 billion more in taxes, while those earning $1 million or more (many of whom are people and families of those within Resource Generation’s community and networks) would get a $5.8 billion cut, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office.

As young people with wealth who will financially benefit from this bill if passed, we have a critical role in pushing back against narratives and policies that exacerbate the U.S.’s pattern of exacting class warfare against poor and working-class people to further consolidate wealth in the hands of a few.

Politicians hear all the time from rich folks who use their influence to get special tax breaks — and they do it because they know that lobbying the government literally pays off. But those same politicians don’t often hear from wealthy folks who understand that shared wealth becomes … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

“As Wealthy People, We Damn Well Better Be Funding Resource Generation Ourselves!”

"As Wealthy People, We Damn Well Better Be Funding Resource Generation Ourselves!"

If I’ve learned one thing as a member of Resource Generation, it’s to lean into the uncomfortable feelings that being fundraised brings up for me because they lead me to real action.

And if I’ve learned one thing as a fundraiser, it’s to make your intentions really clear upfront. My intentions: In this post, I will tell you why I give 10% of my annual giving to Resource Generation as a member and ask you to join as a new member or increase your membership dues to meaningfully reflect your access to wealth. 

When I first came to Resource Generation, I did not like the idea of being wealthy. I cringed every time I heard someone say the words “trust fund baby.” What would they think if they knew that I was one? The horror! I had been attending some Occupy Wall Street protests, having some of my first experiences taking to the streets. Chanting “We are the 99%” was making me a little uncomfortable, though. Then, a friend gave me a “We are the 99%” t-shirt. Shit, I thought. A pit of anxiety grew in my stomach. Am I the 1%? I wondered. Maybe the 2%, I hoped, or … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

As a Young Wealthy Person of Color, This is What Resource Generation Membership Means to Me

As a Young Wealthy Person of Color, This is What Resource Generation Membership Means to Me

I became a dues-paying member of Resource Generation because a more equitable world is possible and it is our responsibility as young people with wealth to play a part.

As a young and wealthy person of color, I have been on a journey for the past five years of understanding how I walk through the world and the role I play in this movement to end systemic oppression. I’ve lived and deeply know the impact of being a member of Resource Generation (RG) and this community’s potential to transform how young people with wealth show up in the fight for the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Through praxis groups, RG’s annual retreat Making Money Make Change, and intentional community, being a dues-paying member of RG helped me become more self-aware, learn more about wealth and power in our society, and practice more radical giving to organizations committed to systemic racial and economic justice. There isn’t another organization out there doing this kind of work.

That’s why this year I increased my membership dues to $5,000 a year for the next four years to help sustain RG’s work, expand its reach, and help others like me move even more Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

How Supporting RG Increases Funding to Social Justice

How Supporting RG Increases Funding to Social Justice

Our big fall fundraising and membership goals are to raise $100,000 and get 150 new members by the end of the year.

As Resource Generation (RG), we organize young people(18-35) with class privilege and access to current, earned, or future wealth to become transformative leaders working towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power.

Supporting RG through membership dues helps increase funding to social justice, especially the types of grassroots organizations unlikely to get funding from mainstream philanthropy because their mission is too radical, too visionary, and too challenging to the status quo. Our members give on average sixteen-times more money[1] to social justice than they did before joining RG. A lot of of our members increase their giving by a lot more than that, too.

Will you join our community of 500 other young people with wealth as an RG member or increase your membership dues today?

Through dynamic organizing, praxis groups, political education, chapter events, conferences, local campaigns, and being in community with each other, our work as an organization helps grow our membership of young people with wealth taking action toward the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. Since our founding in the … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Why Rich People Sharing Their Class Stories Have to Address Redistribution

Why Rich People Sharing Their Class Stories Have to Address Redistribution

One of the most insidious consequences of the rampant wealth inequality generated by capitalism is the idea that the individual matters more than the collective. If you are rich, it’s because you worked hard and deserve it. If you are poor, it’s because you are lazy and deserve it. Either way, it’s up to the individual.

And even if we see through the myth of meritocracy and want to end a system that makes a few people richer and richer at the expense of everyone else, the ‘solutions’ that get the most traction usually center an individual’s actions. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos are all involved in philanthropy and media swarms all over them when they do anything remotely philanthropic, but all of them are also the richest people in the world who get richer every year.  

Our culture’s obsession with individualism is also reflected in think pieces about how badly some rich people (especially liberals and progressives) feel about being rich [see here, here, and here] and shaming people for being poor. Even pieces that are oriented toward potential solutions to wealth inequality tend to focus on and worship individual philanthropists’ decisions … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

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