by Zak Wear, RG member
Resource Generation’s 2015 Making Money Make Change conference brought me back to my home state of Maryland. I was excited to take the week to see my people, rake mom and dad’s leaves, eat, and … Continue reading »
By Katherine Wolf and Lena Solow
On May 9, North Star Fund convened over 500 New Yorkers at the Let Us Breathe Forum to discuss anti-Black racism and discrimination, support the development of Black leadership, and to brainstorm ideas for sustaining the movement for Black liberation that was ignited after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO last summer. Attendees included organizers, donors, artists, and educators from across the five boroughs.
Resource Generation was one of the event’s many sponsors, and more than a dozen people from our local chapter came out to hear from Black leaders how to stay meaningfully engaged. Though RGers recently surpassed our phenomenal goal to raise $1.25 million dollars for black-led organizing, the work is far from finished. As people continue to be killed by police and state violence, resistance efforts will need rapid response funding to fuel direct actions, make bail to release protesters from jail, and build long-term organizing power in black communities. Members of RG’s NYC chapter volunteered to help with set up, clean up, event registration and breakout session monitoring. Ian Fuller co-presented a goal report-back on community safety, and one of praxis group attended together and will be doing a debrief at their next meeting.
The plenaries and workshops featured exclusively Black speakers from the city’s leading grassroots organizing and philanthropic organizations. Below are some highlights from each session – check it out and watch the full opening and closing plenaries here. (more…)
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.
I am a new member of Resource Generation, and a constituent: a young person with wealth. I got involved in conference calls for “RG supports black led organizing” in response to feelings of isolation and powerlessness, and a strong desire to support the resistance to anti-black racism and police violence in cities like Ferguson. Leaders at RG – specifically two current and former board members, working-class black women, Nakisha Lewis and Monica Simpson – pushed our organization to action, guiding us to become accountable specifically as young people with wealth. I joined in at the second call, and from there ideas (and my involvement) snowballed.
In order for RG to become sustainable funders and supporters to the movement of black resistance to state violence and to center all black lives, member-leadership was called on to move this developing initiative forward into the upcoming annual RG retreat, Making Money Make Change. At the retreat, staff constructed a wall, where volunteers posted their personal commitment to #BlackLivesMatter (as a hashtag, movement and rallying cry) and ending the Racial Wealth Gap, which, for me and I think many others, was a challenging process of getting over fears of “not knowing the right thing to say,” but eventually realizing that all of this was bigger than our own egos – and together – the statements presented a fuller picture of why black lives matter to us. There was also a laptop open to the Color of Change petition throughout the retreat; and many elected to take photographs with their statements.
When I first heard about Resource Generation, I had two reactions.
The first was skeptical. I don’t know about this…social justice organizing by young people with wealth?
The second was grateful. Holy crap — I have been looking for this for YEARS.
That’s because I am a young person with wealth1. In my early twenties, I inherited a trust fund and stock portfolio, mostly in Exxon-Mobil and Chevron stocks, from my dad’s side of the family. As I was steadily politicized during and after college, I struggled for years over what this inherited wealth meant for me, as well as more generally over what my place could be in movements for social justice.
Slowly but surely, I learned: as a man, I could recognize my male privilege and reach out toward other men to challenge sexism; as a white person, I could recognize my white privilege and reach out toward other white people to challenge racism. But there was a problem: I didn’t want to reach out toward wealthy people. I hated wealthy people! I hated the preppy culture I grew up in; the global system of financial exploitation that was the root cause of so much suffering and violence; the bubbles of wealth, privilege, and ignorance that perpetuated this vast inequity and injustice.
I hated myself. That was a powerful feeling.
These are the reflections of Ruth Sawyer, RG Seattle Chapter Leader after attending RG’s first ever Transformative Leadership Institute (TLI) for member leaders in July 2013.
One of the most persistent questions I’ve gotten when I try to explain RG’s work in Seattle is “cool, but what do you guys do?” Yes, we have groups that get young people with wealth in the same room, but what’s the point? (more…)