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Why a group of wealthy young people is raising money for "black liberation"

Members of Resource Generation
Members of Resource Generation

A group of mostly white, wealthy young people has reportedly raised over $1 million for black-led organizations.

The group, Resource Generation (or "RG"), a nonprofit with members ages 18 to 35, set out to direct donors to groups that reflect its mission, which focuses on " the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power."

It worked.

Colorlines' Miriam Zoila Pérez reported on RG's recent fundraising campaign, which was inspired in part by the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown and related issues of racialized policing.

"Seeing day after day the headlines and the popular outrage in Ferguson led a small number of us in RG to ask, 'What can we do?" member Chad Jones told Colorlines' Perez. " The possibility of moving a million dollars in nine months to black organizing for black liberation was something that would be a material contribution and an act of solidarity with black communities most under attack."

How this unusual group was formed, and how the campaign worked

There aren't any income requirements for membership, but Resource Generation, which was founded in 1998, has membership criteria that encourage people to self-identify as having wealth.

It describes itself as a "multiracial constituency of young people." Colorlines reports that 85 percent of its approximately 350 members are white.

Organizers say they used a detailed list of criteria to select the recipients of campaign money, including having black people in leadership positions, understanding anti-black racism as systemic, and "center[ing] and celebrat[ing] the lives of marginalized Black people." The selected organizations appear on an interactive map on RG's website, which donors — mostly RG members and their families — use to select the targets for their donations.

The campaign reflects one of the group's "core values"; a statement on its website reads:

We work to end racism and restructure the economy to have the world we want and need. The history of the unequal distribution of wealth in the U.S. is a history of racism — it is impossible to separate the two.  We have a commitment to ending racism and working towards racial justice and this is a central part of RG programs.

Colorlines reported that as of May 20, the group said it had surpassed its goal of raising $1 million by $70,000, with over 100 people having donated to the 200 groups it identified.