- Courtesy of Resource Generation
- Resource Generation is a group of wealthy American millennials who put their money toward social justice causes.
- The group was founded 20 years ago and isn’t a foundation – they focus on education and skill-building to promote social change.
- With 600 members nationwide, Resource Generation carries out its mission by hosting conferences and workshops, fundraising for social and racial justice causes, and teaching financial literacy.
- There’s no income or net worth requirement to become a member, but there’s a $250 annual membership fee.
Iimay Ho, 32, is from an upper class family. Her mother accumulated wealth by building an insurance company, and Ho stands to inherit $1 million.
But she doesn’t want to use the money for vacations or luxury items, she told Business Insider. As the executive director of Resource Generation, she’s more focused on dedicating her money, and her time, to social change – and she’s not alone.
More than 600 wealthy millennials belong to Resource Generation’s 16 chapters across the US, working to redistribute some of their inherited, earned, or future wealth in the name of social equality. All of them have a “money story,” just like Ho.
Resource Generation was founded in 1998 when two young women who inherited family money, Tracey Hewitt and Lynne Gerber, found that the philanthropies they were getting involved in didn’t speak to their personal experiences, Ho explained to Business Insider. They sought to create more spaces for young people who were building money and wealth with ambition for social movements, she said.
But Resource Generation isn’t a foundation – instead of giving grants or connecting donors to organizations, they focus on education and skill-building for young wealthy people who can affect social change.
“Our mission is to organize young wealthy people in the top 10% to use their money to support racial and economic justice,” Ho said. “We do that by providing a clear role, training, and skills to support the working class through giving.”
Millennials are most interested in civil rights and racial discrimination
When it comes to social causes, millennials are more giving “with their time, money, and influence” than other generations, Wes Gay previously wrote in a Forbes article. The Millennial Impact Project, an annual survey of millennial’s involvement with philanthropy, found that millennials became more engaged with social issues from 2016 to 2017. They were most interested in civil rights and racial discrimination.
And the World Economic Forum found that millennials care deeply about global issues, including poverty and lack of economic opportunity – and they’re determined to combat them, Business Insider previously reported.
Now in its 20th anniversary year, Resource Generation is recruiting around 150 members annually and has a 65% membership renewal rate, Ho said. Since its inception, it’s evolved from a donor network to a national network organizing everything from social movements to campaigns.
Members pay $250 annually to be part of Resource Generation, most of which covers operating expenses for the organization. Resource Generation doesn’t impose a specific threshold for wealth on members. Some members don’t have personal wealth, Ho said, but have access to philanthropic resources – such as board members of family foundations.
“Generally, everyone involved feels that they have or will have access to more resources than they need,” states the website. Members can make a difference by doing everything from getting involved with their family foundation to increasing their personal giving amount, Ho said.
Creating a world where wealth is transparent
According to Ho, Resource Generation creates social change in two major ways: conferences and workshops, which cover everything from best donor practices and financial literacy to social justice philanthropy.
“The shared workshops that we do every year have a shared total education on racial wealth divide – we talk about how racism is deeply connected to wealth accumulation and why racial justice is so critical for social justice,” Ho said. “Another workshop involves members telling their money story.”
A “money story” details a member’s wealth background, explains Ho: How much money they have access to, how much money their family has access to, how they build their wealth, etc. The goal with money stories is to be transparent “because there’s so much taboo about wealth,” Ho said. They’re supposed to help members not feel ashamed or uncomfortable about their financial situation.
According to Ho, both the local and national community share resources on curriculum and education for solutions and problems about inequality. Local chapters also come together for practice groups and monthly two-hour workshops, which involve much of the same content as the national workshop, and local campaigns.
For example, the Triangle North Carolina Resource Generation chapter of six members recently ran its first public-facing fundraising campaign. They strategized with local organization Durham Community Land Trustees, which works on preserving affordable housing in the area, to raise money for a full-time housing organizer. They set a goal of raising $100,000 for a two-year salary. In the end, they ended up raising more than $120,000.
Members of Resource Generation have also:
- Moved over $2,000 to support Turning the Tide, which focuses on stopping police and ICE collaborations leading to more deportations
- Given $1,000 in grants to partner organizations, such as 3rd Space, PUENTE, and Arizona Dream Act Coalition
- Raised $135,000 for the Social Justice Fund Northwest, which addresses causes of social, economic, and environmental inequities
- Posted a $2,000 bond to release someone from ICE detention
“I’m proud of how we’ve grown from an organization that didn’t have chapters at first to a place and home for young wealthy people to organize movement for social change,” Ho said. But most of all, she’s proud that Resource Generation members on average give 16 times more money to social justice than they did before they joined Resource Generation.
“How do we create a world where it’s not just the wealthy making decisions, but where we think about where the wealth is going?” she asked. “What are more democratic ways of thinking?”