springboard group

By Katherine Wolf

I joined Springboard Giving Circle (in part) because of a New Year’s resolution. Risk-taking in all the ways ­– political, social, interpersonal, creative – was going to determine my attitude towards new endeavors and potential opportunities in 2014. Since MMMC, the desire to become more involved with RG had also snowballed into what felt like an existential necessity, and so when I was approached to join the group I said yes. Yes to Springboard, yes to community, yes to finally taking concrete action to move resources out of my pretty piggy bank into the hands of powerful NYC grassroots organizing. And of course, yes to risk.

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10417489_930887197473_5786368066272531445_nOne thing is for sure- the people who work at RG have a lot of good ideas, and sometimes too many. A couple months back, Mike sent me this sprawling document (9 pages long!) that various staff members had worked on. It was called “Leveraging our Resources for Change: 55” Ways to Take Action (need to count them)”— and there were many more than 55 there. The document was a list of ways that people could work towards social change.

I pared it down, and our designer Ryan made it into a snappy document. The list is broken down into 4 parts: ideas for action if you 1) have money or investments, 2) have class privilege, 3) are a member of RG, or 4) want to help elsewhere.

Now called “Using Your Power Wisely: 65 Ways to Take Action” (I counted), it will be helpful whenever someone asks, “What can I do to help?” It can be used at retreats and events to inspire those who want to work for the equitable distribution of land, wealth and power. It is available on the Free Downloads page here for all you RG supporters.

Share and tweet this out if you think resources like this are important!

 

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IMG_2387We at Resource Generation stand proudly in solidarity with all the actions happening this week in the name of climate justice, and extend our gratitude and support to the incredible amount of labor and organizing that has made it possible. Several RG leaders were on the front lines of civil disobedience today at Flood Wall Street, calling to change our current economic system, which is both a cause of and directly profits from the climate crisis and exploitation of indigenous and low income and working class communities. We celebrate the power and unity of the hundreds of thousands of people that are taking action this week!  We carry this energy and urgency forward with all of you in our commitment to end destructive economies that profit from exploiting labor and land and move toward a future of shared wealth, land and power.

Some resources we wanted to share as we move forward!

Regenerative Finance: ReGenerative Finance works as a political project, a model for a just transition, and a regenerative financial organization

Divest/Invest Philanthropy: We are foundations divesting from fossil fuels and switching to clean energy investments, joining college, health, pension funds and religious endowments doing the same. Ethically, our investments shouldn’t contribute to dangerous climate change. Financially, fossil fuel stocks are over-valued as most of their reserves cannot be burned. We can get good, safe returns while helping to build a new energy system.

Recent blog post by RG member Ari Sahagun

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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.

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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.

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Hello, Resource Generation! My name is Iimay (pronounced “ee-may”) Ho and I joined the staff as the new Associate Director in mid August. I have the great honor and challenge of filling Mike Gast’s shoes as he transitions to life after RG. I’m thrilled to be leading our fundraising and assisting Jessie with organizational development to ensure that RG is a healthy, sustainable, effective organization.

I’m based in Washington, DC and have lived here for the past 6 years. I was born and raised in Cary, North Carolina, and identify as a Southerner. Barbecue, sweet tea, and the NC State Fair hold a special place in my heart. Growing up Asian American with immigrant parents in the South politicized me early – I got a lot of messages growing up that I didn’t belong. My experiences of racism were buffered by my family’s wealth and class privilege and my strong ties to my large extended family. Spending summers in NJ with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, I knew that there was always a place of refuge for me.

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Post written by RG staff and board members. Special thank you to board member Nakisha Lewis for kicking this into action. We also released a press release titled “Young People with Wealth Stand in Solidarity with Ferguson, Mo.” inspired by this post.

At Resource Generation, we are deeply saddened and outraged over the death of yet another young Black man at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown’s cold-blooded killing has inspired days of protests in Ferguson’s Black community, met with a militarized response and heavy repression from St. Louis Police.

As many of us know, this is the product of institutionalized racism. We remember Trayvon Martin and so many others, and we know there will be more until we stop the killing of Black men, women, and transgender people, and uproot racism and white supremacy from every institution, community, heart, mind, and action.

The sort of rage and response we see in the Ferguson community did not develop overnight- it was born out of generations of oppression and the gutting of resources from Black communities. Continue reading

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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.

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When I arrived at Stanford two years ago, I had a pretty naive view of how the world worked.  My parents worked hard so that my sister and I could go to good schools and participate in lots of extracurricular activities, and then I worked hard so I could go to a school like Stanford.  Let’s just say that my white upper-class upbringing didn’t teach me much about global systems of oppression.

During my first year of college, my understanding of the world changed drastically.  In my dorm, talking about identity, discrimination, and injustice late into the night was common. We discussed really tough subjects I had never paid much attention before, like sexual assault and the racial wealth divide.

Often these conversations were incredibly uncomfortable.  My peers would share with me their experiences with poverty or domestic violence or racial profiling and I would have no idea what to do or say in response. My temptation was to say “I totally understand” but I really didn’t.

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RG staff is growing! We are so excited to feature two of our new staff and check back next month when we will feature more!

Emil Paddison, National Organizer
I’m Emil Paddison, RG’s new National Organizer. I’ll be working to support chapters in Seattle, the Bay Area, Stanford, Denver/Boulder, Chicago, and emerging chapter in Portland. I’ve been involved in Resource Generation since 2010, where I participated in my first praxis group. I have now been in (what I believe is a record) five Praxis groups and on the Seattle leadership team for over two years. I’m a Pacific Northwest native, and I’ve spent the last 10 years working for housing justice as community organizer, tenant counselor, deputy director, and grantwriter for the Tenants Union of Washington State.

My heart is in healing justice work, and I’m being trained ingenerative somatics to support personal and social transformation and healing through embodied leadership of myself and my community.

I love writing music and I am in the band The Nature, whose music is best described as queer musical melodrama. I’ve been transformed both personally and politically through my involvement in RG, and I’m thrilled to be supporting amazing chapter leaders across the country grow and deepen in their work with RG toward powerful leadership for collective action.  Contact me at  emil@resourcegeneration.org!

Kaitlin Gravitt, Campaign and Chapter Organizer
Hi RG!  I’m Kaitlin Gravitt, the new Campaign and Chapter Organizer on staff, soon to new New Yorker, and lover of a daily outdoor life.  Originally from California I have slowly been winding my way up the East Coast and am moving to New York in the fall to work out of the RG office.  I am excited to dig-in, contribute to the innovative work happening at RG, and to build our power from the inside-out in the fight for racial and economic justice.

Growing up in the diversity of Los Angeles, CA during controversial education reform helped me understand the depths of inequality early in my life and drove me to engage in campaigns and build leadership in community – work that I later understood as organizing.  After college I worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), organizing mostly Latina in-home child care providers, leading civic engagement and electoral campaigns, and organizing a worker strike at a well known hospital in CA.  I was also lucky enough to work with grassroots organizations all over the country as a regional organizer with the Center for Community Change (CCC).  At CCC, I worked with leaders from diverse grassroots groups locally and nationally to win critically needed changes for immigrant rights, healthcare, and economic justice for low-income people and communities of color.

Some of the things that help me bring my full self to this work are a daily Ashtanga yoga practice, friends that are down to explore new things with me, being in the sun as much as possible, and any excuse to try out a new recipe and share it with others. I am really looking forward to what we can build together here at RG, so always feel free to drop me a line - kaitlin@resourcegeneration.org. Until then!

 

 

 

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