Jessie Spector, Executive Director
Jessie Spector has worked at Resource Generation since graduating from Wesleyan University in 2008. Over the past 4+ years, Jessie has played a variety of roles at RG including office manager, chapter organizing, developing the campaign for tax justice, and facilitating East and West coast leadership trainings in her role as Program Director. As an activist and donor, Jessie participates in several innovative cross-class models of wealth redistribution: the Criminal Justice Initiative, a circle of donors and activists who use consensus to fund the transformation of the criminal justice system in the US, and the Solidarity Family of POOR Magazine, a cohort of young people with wealth learning from and fundraising for POOR and the project of Homefulness, a permanent and sustainable pilot model of co-housing for homeless people. Jessie is constantly inspired by the power of organizing within her own community of young people with wealth and class privilege in partnership with people working for justice from all class backgrounds. She is in particular awe of the personal and familial deepening she has experienced and gets to witness within the RG community. When not at work you will find Jessie riding her bike, watching Downton Abbey, baking rosemary bread, or boogying on the dance floor.
Michael Gast, Associate Director
Michael Gast is the associate director of Resource Generation (RG). Mike has been involved with Resource Generation since 2002, when he attended his very first RG program, the Making Money Make Change Retreat. Over his many years with RG, Mike has become an experienced social change philanthropist, donor organizer and fundraiser. He co-coordinated the Movement Generation Support Committee, a donor circle supporting young progressive leaders in the Bay Area, and has led multiple young donor delegations to events such as the U.S. Social Forum and multiple Council on Foundations conferences. Over the last ten years, Mike has organized hundreds of young people with wealth and young family foundation trustees to move from isolation to action, in support of movements for social change. He is a talented facilitator and educator with years of experience leading programs, workshops and trainings on topics from environmental justice to creating a giving plan. Mike lives in Oakland, loves the Seattle Quake Rugby Football Club, and is a graduate of Vassar College.
Lourdes Ashley Hunter, Program Director
Lourdes Ashley Hunter is a momentum builder and for over ten years has spearheaded successful initiatives within culturally diverse communities color who are facing complex issues that directly impact their socio-economic growth and development. An academic, practitioner and educator, Lourdes’ leadership has led to governmental policy reform to include culturally competent employee trainings and manuals along with the development and implementation of best practices at the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) and The New York City Police Department (NYPD). Lourdes earned a Bachelors Degree in Social Theory, Structure and Change with concentrations in Race, Class and Gender Studies from SUNY: Empire State College and is a MPA candidate c/o 2014 in the Executive program at Rutgers University. Ms. Hunter has solidified her presence as a leader in civic engagement, social change philanthropy and racial justice. When she is not organizing for social change she enjoys sports, arts, good wine, good food and fascinating company.
Nitika Raj, National Organizer
Nitika Raj first got involved with Resource Generation in Seattle, Washington as part of a cross-class giving circle, a partnership between Social Justice Fund Northwest and RG. Collectively, a cohort of 18 members donated $90,000 and raised an additional $50,000, which was granted to 12 grassroots social change organizations. Nitika went on to join her first praxis group, and eventually the Seattle chapter's leadership team to focus on mobilizing young people of color with wealth. She joined staff in January 2012, and is excited to work at the intersection of racial oppression and class privilege to move communities of color towards wholeness. Her "giving" (returning of wealth) supports the transformation and independence of women and LGBTQ communities of color, embodied healing practices and ending violence. Nitika is deeply spiritual, wildly hopeful, and a writer and dancer. Her family lives in Kuwait, England, India, and the U.S. and they are often perplexed but mostly very proud of her.
Contact me about organizing people of color with wealth, starting an affinity based praxis group, In Our Image (an upcoming book for young people of color with wealth who believe in social change), or about potential partnerships for moving resources.
Zara Chaudary, Operations Manager
Zara Chaudary joined RG in March of 2012, bringing with her boundless amounts of energy and idealism. Although she is pre-med, as an undergraduate at Columbia University she studied Anthropology and Women's Studies with the hopes of better understanding the complicated cross-cultural definition of woman. Along the way, she was joyfully immersed into the non-profit world through Jumpstart and City Year, both of which focused on the educational disparity within the US. After 5 years of educationally-focused non-profit work, Zara wanted to switch gears to be more involved in the larger social change movement happening today. She is the epitome of a New Yorker, living every day to truly discover what the limits of multi-tasking can be. Zara's zest for life comes in handy as she is a Zumba instructor who, when not happily alphabetizing and numerically coordinating vast amounts of spreadsheets, can be found choreographing new dances on the subway. She hopes to return to medical school in the future to continue her life mission of positively impacting lives of others.
Contact me if you would like further information about Resource Generation and how you can support us in the work we do.
Sarah Abbott, National Organizer
Sarah Abbott is a national organizer for Resource Generation. Sarah has been involved with RG since 2009, when in her senior year at Wesleyan University she first attended the Making Money Make Change conference. She is a founding member of the Arizona Migrant Justice Giving Collective, a cross-class giving project that supports grassroots migrant justice organizing in Arizona. She has also been an RG chapter leader in Minneapolis. Sarah is passionate about developing the ability of young people with wealth to fully align their skills and resources with the social movements they believe in. As a donor, Sarah is committed to supporting grassroots organizing that builds power in communities most affected by injustice. She is a midwesterner at heart and by choice, raised in small-town Minnesota and currently residing in vibrant Minneapolis. When she's not organizing, you'll find Sarah aerobicizing at her local YWCA or breaking it down on the dance floor.
Contact me If you want to get involved in Resource Generation and live in one of our chapter cities.
Tiffany Ann Brown, Making Money Make Change Retreat Director
Tiffany Ann Brown joined the Resource Generation team in late 2012 as the new Making Money Make Change Retreat Director, after having an organizational crush on RG since 2003. From 2002 – 2010 Tiffany coordinated dozens of events for young leaders (ages 18-35), nationally and internationally. One key program actually began as a partnership with RG and worked with young people with exceptional wealth or fame to leverage their privilege for social change. She spent years inspired by a community of activists, and decided to take a break from the “sector” to focus on urban homesteading and music. During this time Tiffany made everything from sausage to lard soap, canned, preserved and crafted. She also spent a year DJing at a San Francisco bar, hosting a weekly jazz night called No Room For Squares (all vinyl, all the time!). In addition, she expanded her event-planning portfolio through organizing events on reproductive rights, a wedding and a string of urban homesteading events that merged music and local food called Down Homes Style. Now Tiffany happily splits her time between RG and making yogurt, having learned that life is about striking a delicate and loving balance of being out in the world and cultivating rich systems that support a relationship to home.
Contact me about Making Money Make Change.
Isaac Lev Szmonko, Campaign Organizer
Isaac Lev Szmonko is the Campaign Organizer for Resource Generation. Isaac Lev grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts, went to school at Wesleyan University, and has lived in Oakland since 2008. Most of his campaign experience comes from his work with Critical Resistance, an organization that works to end the use of imprisonment, surveillance, and policing to address social, economic, and political problems. When he is not fighting to tax the rich and abolish the prison industrial complex, Isaac can often be found writing poetry, singing, reading fantasy novels, or frolicking outdoors.
Contact me about getting involved in RG's campaign work!
National Board of Advisors
Alex is a recent graduate of Skidmore College where he received a B.A. in Government. Since graduating Alex has held an internship at another New York City non-profit as an Organizing and Advocacy Intern and has been working at a restaurant in DUMBO. As a fellow at RG Alex will be assisting the Associate Director with development and communications duties as well as other operational and administrative tasks. Alex is an avid cook and rabid fan of the English club Arsenal FC.
Shalini has been living in New York since March of 2012 and is pursuing an MPA at Baruch College. She completed her BS in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and has worked within the non-profit sector as an intern and assistant for the past 5 years at various organizations including Institute of Social Studies Trust (New Delhi, India), Amnesty International USA, and GlobalGiving. She is originally from India but moved a lot from a young age, growing up in Japan and parts of Africa during her childhood, an experience that has sparked her passion for sustainable international development, cross-cultural communication, and human rights.
Virginia Chung-fen Weihs
Virginia Chung-fen Weihs grew up in Austin, Texas and has lived in Seattle, Washington for the last five years. She got connected to Resource Generation after doing a giving project with Social Justice Fund Northwest and joined her first RG praxis group in 2012. Later, she attended the emeRGe national RG retreat for young people of color with wealth, and then became a member of the Seattle RG chapter leadership team. In Seattle, Virginia has worked in a variety of social service and advocacy settings ranging from a street newspaper to an Early Head Start program. She has found so much meaning and power for herself in exploring the intersections of race and class privilege through RG, and she is excited to continue engaging with others in this process as a POC Organizing Fellow.
Jenna Spagnolo is a lifelong student, artist, and activist. Before joining Resource Generation's team, she has been involved in environmental justice work, bicycle advocacy, and fundraising. She is currently writing and drawing a graphic novel about class, tentatively called Rolling in It.
Lily is a junior at Dartmouth College majoring in linguistics. She is active in Occupy Dartmouth and Students Stand with Staff, the labor activism group on campus. When she is not protesting something, you can find her at an improv show or enjoying a delicious Vietnamese sandwich.