Are you RG’s next Chapter Organizing Director?

Are you RG's next Chapter Organizing Director?

 

We are excited to announce we are launching our search for our next Chapter Organizing Director!

The heart of our organizing is community, and one of the primary ways we build this community together is through our chapters! Can you imagine Resource Generation before chapters? In our early years, RG focused on national retreats, and over time we realized the power of building strong local chapters that take action together. We now have 17 chapters across the country who are the foundation of our work – organizing praxis groups, training leaders, showing up for local partners, giving together, and building strong relationships.

Mobilizing resources is one of the primary ways young people with wealth can leverage their unique access on behalf of social movements.

Sarah Abbott has spent the last six years building our chapter organizing model. Sarah will be taking on a new role with our organization as our Resource Mobilization Director. This role will help us better understand, organize and coordinate the ways our base moves money as a community. Sarah will step into this new position starting on September 1, 2017, which means we are beginning the search for a new Chapter Organizing Director!

We are Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Unquantifiable Data

Unquantifiable Data

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

I am a bit of a gambler. Had you asked me at any point what are the odds that you’ll work for an organization that organizes rich people, I would have bet against it. The odds were incredibly low. And yet, Resource Generation organizes young people with wealth, and I organize Resource Generation’s retreats.

When I started this job I brought with me a lot of working-class pride, southern geniality and a misguided notion that I had a somewhat solid comprehension of class in this country. A year later, I am humbled by how much I’ve learned and curious how vast the unknowns of my oblivion still are. You simply cannot know what you do not know. I want to share a few reflections on what I’ve learned about class, economics and possibility in this time. I do not claim any of these learnings to be original. This is some of what I, from my particular vantage point in the world, am contemplating. Here are ten reflections thus far, the first 5 are personal learnings and second 5 are political lessons, for whatever that distinction is worth.… Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

On May 20th I attended the North Star Fund’s forum for Resilient New York, a forum to advance grassroots organizing as a key strategy to protect the dignity and rights of all New Yorkers. The event was a call to community members, donors, grantmakers, and organizers to unite around a proactive shared vision to support the grassroots for the next four years and beyond.

I had the honor of participating in the closing plenary: Resourcing the Resistance, Building Power Over Time (recording available here). The other panelists were all incredible women of color leaders representing the perspectives of funders and grassroots organizers.

We didn’t plan it this way, but I was seated in the middle of the panel, between the institutional funders and the grassroots organizers. I thought that was a fitting metaphor for the role that Resource Generation plays as a bridge between these worlds.

Left-to-right – Moderator: Kevin Ryan (New York Foundation), Cathy Dang (CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities), Mo George (Picture the Homeless), Iimay Ho (Executive Director, RG), Tynesha McHarris (NoVo Foundation), Camille Emeagwali (New York Women’s Foundation)

 

Some highlights from the panel include:

Cathy Dang from CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities spoke about the importance… Continue reading »
Posted in: Blog

My story of race, class, and why I organize rich kids

My story of race, class, and why I organize rich kids

I’ve spent the last eight years in various fundraising and grantmaking roles in support of social justice movements. When I talk about my work, after pushing through the looks of confusion and clarifying questions, I often get asked how I ended up at this intersection of money and movements that is full of contradictions and imperfections. There is often an assumption that I come from a wealthy background to even be doing this work. What’s true is that being a white, cisgender man and having learned the language and customs of philanthropy helps me pass as wealthy. I choose to leverage those privileges to access and organize communities with financial resources to align with and participate in movements led by poor and working-class people and people of color.

The truth is I grew up squarely middle-class. Middle-class is a term that is often used loosely, evading honesty about class. Looking back on census data during my childhood, our family annual income has historically hovered right below average. In 1998, when I was eleven years old, my family of four was living on about $50,000 while the median income in the U.S. for families of four was $55,886. Acknowledging the racial … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

How I Learned to Embrace Family Philanthropy’s Contradictions (And Why This Matters in Today’s Urgent Social Justice Moment)

How I Learned to Embrace Family Philanthropy’s Contradictions (And Why This Matters in Today’s Urgent Social Justice Moment) Act I: Family Philanthropy = Bad?

My siblings and I found out that we were on the board of a family foundation six years ago over Christmas dinner. “Surprise! We are now the Pink House Foundation!” my parents announced over root vegetables and waning holiday cheer. (Our house in Northwest Washington, DC was bright pink.)

My parents—whose wealth had been earned over the previous ten years of my father’s work with a rapidly growing biotechnology company—decided that rather than continue to accumulate the wealth (with personal donations here and there), they wanted to start giving in a systematic, accountable way that included their four young adult children.

As my white Midwestern parents, who came from middle-class backgrounds, explained, their intent was to create a shared culture of giving so that their new wealth would not be normalized and/or misused in the years to come. The foundation’s presidency, they had determined, would rotate between the six of us every year. Each year the new president would, completely autonomously, select a giving theme (the first year’s was Eating Disorder Awareness), send out a targeted request for proposals, review all of the applications, and pitch the board on whom to fund.

Despite my … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

The Best Insurance Against Climate Disaster – #WhyIMarch

The Best Insurance Against Climate Disaster - #WhyIMarch

Like many working mothers, my mom’s office doubled as a daycare center. Much of my childhood was spent in my mom’s office, filing folders, stamping brochures, folding policies, and hiding underneath the table in the breakroom and playing fort with my younger brother. We “worked” with the constant sound of my mom’s voice in the background, on the phone with yet another client, patiently talking them through their claim.

Most of the wealth in my family has been generated by my mom’s insurance business, primarily through auto and homeowner’s insurance. My mom often says that she is there for people in some of the worst moments of their lives, like a devastating car accident or house fire. At the foundation of the insurance business is a concept of community care, that if we all chip in together then when disaster strikes, we can draw from the pool to rebuild our lives.

Of course because the private insurance industry is driven by profit, it’s not all warm fuzzies – much of the industry is devoted to calculating how risky it is for the business to cover a person, car, or home and denying coverage is routine. As a response to climate Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

The Real Invisible Hand(s)

The Real Invisible Hand(s)

“If you work hard, people will notice and you will be recognized.” Parts of that tale are true — at least for me as a young person with class privilege and access to wealth. Every week, I churn in a few dozen hours, and twice a month, a paycheck is deposited into my checking account. It’s a process that recognizes my output, and pays me for it. Wage labor should be valued, which is why the Fight for Fifteen, fair overtime pay, and other campaigns to improve the conditions of paid work is so critical.

But there’s a gap that often goes unacknowledged in that saying. One you can find if you ask, “what is labor, really?”

Growing up, my parents worked. A lot. As recent immigrants in the U.S., they wanted to succeed in this new home. Despite their busyness, they still took care of my brother and I, but they didn’t do it alone. There were several other strong, immigrant women who cared for us, cooked for us, cleaned up after us, lent us their shoulders to cry on, gave us warm, assuring hugs when we needed them, even disciplined us. Some of these women were paid for … Continue reading »

Posted in: Blog

Protect Our Communities & Our Planet, Not Private Wealth

Protect Our Communities & Our Planet, Not Private Wealth

This April 29th, I’ll be in Washington D.C. marching alongside frontline communities — those who are being most directly impacted by climate change — for climate, jobs, and justice as part of the People’s Climate Movement.

I’m also marching as someone whose family has profited directly off the fossil fuel economy, and has a personal stake in transforming it. You see, I’m a “5%er”. My family has more net financial assets than 95% of families in the United States (you can calculate your percentage here). Much of this wealth has been passed down through multiple generations. My great grandfather was an oil prospector, which means he purchased some cheap land rights out in Oklahoma back in the day, hired some people to drill into the ground and find oil, and then turned around and sold that land back to oil companies. Through a series of trusts, he was able to pass down a bunch of shares of Standard Oil to his great grandchildren. That means my cousins and I each got $300,000 in what is now Exxon-Mobil, just for being born.

The Oklahoma City oilfield, discovered in 1928, produced more than 7.3 million barrels of oil over the … Continue reading »

Posted in: Uncategorized

Factories and Families – #WhyIMarch

Factories and Families - #WhyIMarch

When you open the door the sound pulls you in like an undertow, humming electric and mechanical. Light seeps in through dented and dirty windows high in the metal ceiling. It smells like sweat and burnt plastic; to anyone else, a strange combination, but to me, this was a part of home.

Walking through the workfloor, myself no higher than my dad’s hip, the men would emerge from their stations with big smiles and bigger hugs. All these men felt like uncles, habibis, beloveds. I loved these days, the days I would visit the plastic factory my family owned and operated.

But as I became older, it felt like the men weren’t happy to see me because I was their cute nephew, but rather, I began to feel the immense weight of being the heir of their patron, their employer, their boss. I began to feel more embarrassment when I would visit, when my dad would begin to yell at a worker, blood in his face, spit in the air, my helplessness. Wanting with all my heart to say to my dad’s employees “I’m not like him, I’m on your side” and knowing that I wasn’t– I was running away … Continue reading »

Posted in: Uncategorized

Tax deductions on yachts? I can’t.

Tax deductions on yachts? I can’t.

 

By Ross Chapman

Campaigning for tax justice is a no-brainer when you see the math — which I did recently (and serendipitously in time for tax season and oncoming protests). The effective tax rates for the rich and poor in this country don’t track the real wealth disparities across our country’s economic chasm, or even the approximately fairer marginal tax rate. It’s a total wtf; the current tax code is gross theft. Tax deductions on yachts? I can’t. Taxes are what we pay for civilized society — and us rich folk, who I’m led to believe are also participants in civilized society, must not be exempt. As a young person who has inherited wealth and also has a high paying job, who makes some money from investments (umm, lower tax rate on capital gains than wages?), I simply don’t pay my fair share. The IRS is driving my getaway car. And that ain’t right.

And while I’ll rumble down with the perfidious robber jingos in the white house for how they abuse our dollars once they get them (who, btw, have median wealth in the millions, cough cough they write the tax code)…I’m newly dedicated, as my accountant scrambles … Continue reading »

Posted in: Uncategorized