I discovered RG three years ago after a frantic online search for information following a frustrating phone call with my mother. During the call, I was informed that, upon turning 21, I would be named as a trustee of a private family foundation. Without going into too much detail, the thought of engaging with four family members with varying degrees of interest in the process and only a few intersecting values felt challenging to say the least.
by Ari Sahagun
I don’t know about you, but for me, dedicating my life to environmental justice while holding investments in fossil fuels just doesn’t add up. As an RG member, actively looking to leverage my class privilege for justice and other values I believe in, I was encouraged to learn about the Divest/Invest Philanthropy group and attended a webinar to learn more.
Divest/Invest Philanthropy works with foundations and individuals to take investments out of fossil fuel companies and invest in a carbon neutral future.
I want to share this as a strategy that cultivates our hope for a future without fossil fuels, restores power to people most affected by climate change, and begins healing ourselves from the hurts we’ve inflicted on the natural world.
What follows are 3 key lessons I learned and some suggested next steps.
Iris Brilliant is the new Family Philanthropy and Impact Investing Organizer at Resource Generation. She grew up in the Marin County, CA and currently lives in a seven-person collective in Oakland, CA. Her first praxis group at RG was so transformative that it continues to meet, even after two years. She then joined the Bay Area Leadership Team, where she formed the first ever Jewish Praxis group, which explored the intersection of class privilege and Jewish identity and history. With a family background in philanthropy, Iris has been immersed in the philanthropic world since the age of fourteen, and has often found herself to be one of a few young adults at philanthropic conferences. As a result, she is passionate about supporting the leadership development of young adults in the philanthropic world and their implementation of social change values and practices into philanthropy. Previously, Iris was an editor at Make/shift Magazine, a feminist magazine based in Los Angeles,CA, and an intern at the Catalyst Project, a white anti-racist organization in San Francisco, CA.
Originally posted on boldergiving.org. Jessan is a RG Member Leader in our Seattle Local Chapter.
In 2007, at 20 years old, I got my first job as an engineer. When I opened the offer letter from Google, I realized that my starting salary of over $100,000 would be more than anyone I’d ever been close to had made. I knew for sure that I didn’t want to structure my life around that salary, because then I would come to expect that lifestyle. I wanted to do something good with the money I didn’t need to live off of, but I wasn’t sure what.
I started giving in my first year at Google. They offered to match up to $3,000 in gifts and I wanted to take advantage of that. It was a little overwhelming to figure out where to give. I wanted to support progressive causes in the United States that would be transformative, rather than just address basic needs. I also wanted to give internationally because the US economy is based on taking disproportionate resources from the rest of the world. I wanted to give something back. I’m also passionate about addressing violence against women. But I really didn’t know how to translate those interests into particular organizations to give to, so I just started doing my own research and asking friends for ideas. The book “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded” had a profound influence on my understanding of the non-profit world.
No matter how much I give away, the amount I earn creates a power difference between most everyone I am close to and me. I had started to feel really isolated in dealing with money and giving when I found the organization Resource Generation. Getting to know other young people with wealth was a big shift in my life. Being able to talk with others who also feel like they have more than they need helped me get unblocked. I created a giving plan, and have been increasing my giving every year since then. I was so moved by the change that being a part of Resource Generation made in my life that I have become a volunteer leader with them – organizing other young people with wealth to join us and to do great things with their giving. I never have imagined myself being this type of leader…I’m an engineer! (more…)
Burke Stansbury is a RG alumni and former board member and chapter leader. He currently lives in Seattle with his family.
In February of this year I invited my dad, Michael Stansbury, to participate with me in a giving project through the Social Justice Fund NW. He was a little apprehensive at first and had a lot of questions, but he eventually agreed to do it. So in March we jumped right in, becoming the first father-son team to engage in a SJF giving project together.
For me, it was a logical step to invite my dad in. Since I started getting involved with Resource Generation nearly 10 years ago I’ve increasingly thought of myself as a “donor organizer.” And what better donors to organize than your own parents, especially if they have more access to resources than you do? In 2007, I worked with my parents to start a family foundation – actually a donor-advised fund with a concrete mission statement – and we meet annually along with my partner Krista to make a set of grants. It’s been a fulfilling process, inspiring me to move even further into the realm of collective, de-centralized giving. In 2010, I joined a group of Resource Generation members and community organizers in Washington DC in founding the Diverse City Fund, a foundation with a rotating grantmaking team made up of community leaders of color.
When I moved to Seattle last year I searched for a similar vehicle for giving, especially in light of the fact that I had been away from my hometown for nearly two decades and didn’t have a good sense of the organizing environment. Which is where Social Justice Fund NW comes in. Donating to SJF and participating in a Giving Project was the perfect way to align my values around democratized decision-making in philanthropy, while also building community across class and race. (more…)
Way back in 2008, an RG delegation of young people involved in their families funds attended the Council on Foundations Summit in Washington DC. The Summit was a philanthropy mega-conference with thousands of participants. It was philanthro-learning, philanthro-strategizing, philanthro-networking and … Continue reading »
Really. Retreat Reports can be hot. This one definitely is. It will make you smile, inspire you, and make you wanna call a friend. Really.
We have just finished our 2010 Creating Change Through Family Philanthropy Retreat Report and are … Continue reading »
In the days following RG’s creating change through family philanthropy retreat last month, I took some time to reflect and record my thoughts. here is a taste!
– Jessie Spector, RG Staff and Member
From my blog http://www.everydaycontradictions.blogspot.com/
recently resource generation hosted the 4th Creating Change Through Family Philanthropy retreat, a 40 person conference for young people who are involved in their families’ philanthropy or who want to be. i was truly moved by the weekend. it was pretty darn incredible. and i was equally as challenged by the question: how does philanthropy exist in a framework that is working towards true liberation, self-determination, and the redistribution of wealth and power? can it?
the night i got home from the retreat i felt so much passion. i was deeply humbled by the experience- by the complex stories of everyone there, the million little ways in which people are doing what they can, in their particular lives, to affect change and work for justice. what you make of life is so much more complicated than simply you– it’s about the messages you’ve been handed down, the legacy you’re expected to carry on, the demands of “success” by those around you, the life you’ve come to know and also are trying to question. (more…)