Through sharing my “money story” with others, I identified the systemic boosts that have specifically helped my family accumulate wealth, such as the public disinvestment in urban areas and public-private housing partnerships that have benefited developers.

It was difficult to recognize that my family benefited while others did not.

But I was also encouraged at the conference to envision a new relationship with money that places the collective first, links my money stories to others and allows me to transform my guilt and shame into love in order to act in solidarity across race and class differences.

Next steps: Here are some practices the Making Money Make Change conference highlighted:

  • Learn financial literacy: Impact investor Rachel Robasciotti explained how the language of economics and philanthropy are often a barrier to discussing money. By learning about investments, stocks and bonds, and philanthropic giving, we can develop tools to understand wealth and leverage it strategically.
  • Fund all parts of the social movement ecosystem, including the vision setters: Aaron Tanaka of the Boston Ujima project shared his work to build alternative economies. Investors can help transition economies by placing resources into community-based organizations that distribute ownership and democratize decision-making. The Ujima Project’s model allows members to decide what they need most in a community, provides businesses that have been historically marginalized access to capital to launch – both of which are exemplified in the Cero Coop, a worker-owned composting business that the Ujima Project supports.
  • Don’t just invest, be sure to divest: This is a popular framework included in The Movement for Black Lives policy platform. Chordata Capital founder Tiffany Brown reiterated this idea in a workshop and highlighted the need to align investments with philanthropic giving by divesting from extractive businesses and investing in socially responsible ones. By pulling money out of businesses like big banks and putting it in local banks like Village Financial in Minneapolis, funders can support banks that provide capital to those who may not otherwise be able to, rather than banks that have a history predatory loans and redlining.
  • Commit to the journey: In an evening plenary, Thenjiwe Harris from Blackbird energized the room by asserting the most important thing young people can do is to commit to the journey of learning and supporting movement work.

Read the full article about privilege and race by Reed Young National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.