by Rachel Adler, RG Member
Every few months, I’ll make up a batch of my famous caramel corn and invite the Philly chapter of Resource Generation to my house for an hour or so on a weekday evening. A few of them will show up, and we’ll sit on the couch and catch up for a while. Then we’ll pull out our computers and our wallets, and for a
I know what you’re thinking. But no, we’re not shopping for our matching RG Philly chapter
I started moving money every month, usually about $300, pretty soon after I joined Resource Generation. In contrast to annual giving, monthly giving allows me to be flexible and responsive
Here’s the process I usually use: over the course of the month, I keep a short running list of organizations and people who are asking their communities for money, whether they are local or far away. At the end of the month, I research the entities on the list and, at a casual low-stakes giving
How do I choose where to move money? I look to resources like RG’s social justice philanthropy values as a guide and rely on my local RG community to help me learn and grow as a donor and activist. I have made several donations to Bread & Roses Community Fund in Philly, which then funds local organizing through community decision-making processes.
And I am also guided by questions that I’ve developed throughout the years, like: is this an effort led by poor or working-class people? Is it for racial and economic justice? Does it challenge police brutality and the criminalization of poor and working-class people and people of
The low-stakes giving concept is simple and fun, but my relationship to wealth–and to
I originally chose $300 to give monthly because it’s pretty close to the amount of interest that my trust fund generates each month, so I can withdraw that amount without really affecting the fund. I’m not going to leave that fund untouched forever, of course, but for now, as I draw up plans for what to do with it, building a practice of monthly money-moving helps me constantly engage with what it means to move money. It’s room to observe how it feels to move money out of my holdings, to see what kind of effects it has, and to build up criteria for where and when and how I can move money. I am gradually increasing the
And this process is not just practice – even though $300 feels small compared to the wealth that I will inherit, it’s still real money and has a real effect. In the past few
In a world where wealthy people are afraid to part with money, it feels important to create spaces where moving money is a celebratory and communal act. In a world where wealthy people hoard wealth because they believe it’s theirs, it is a joy to set money free, to usher it from private holdings directly to people and places that will use it for their survival, resilience, and flourishing. At casual giving parties, we get to do this together. We ask each other questions about the decisions we’re making, or we just sit companionably on the couch, munching on popcorn and figuring out new ways to set money free.
Rachel is a young person with wealth and a member of the Philadelphia chapter of Resource Generation.