Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...
Jennifer Gandin Le
Beauty in a Wicked World: Spring is here!
5 Comments | posted March 21st, 2007 at 02:21 pm by Jennifer Gandin Le

Happy first day of Spring, all! In the spirit of new growth and abundance, I bring you this tidbit.

My class-warrior husband and I often talk about money, especially family money that makes some young people very, very rich. We get especially frustrated with young, wealthy people who act and live like they don’t have any money. Obviously it’s a complex issue, and it’s easy for me to judge from the outside, but their denial of the reality of their lives almost orientalizes the poor, as if it’s a lifestyle choice not to have money.

Which is why I was so encouraged to read this article in the February 26 issue of U.S. News:

Making Their Privilege Pay: Wealthy generation X-ers are finding it takes more than money to do good deeds

The article (written by Kimberly Palmer) talks about wealthy Gen Xers who have formed organizations, like Resource Generation and Grand Street, to counsel each other on how best to use their money for philanthropy and the greater good.

Several of the young people spoke about being “out” about their money:

Before Michalya Schonwald, 28, attended a Resource Generation conference in 2004, she didn’t know what to say when someone asked her how she afforded her apartment. Now, if someone asks, she explains that she has a trust fund and, if possible, takes the opportunity to talk about philanthropy. Schonwald, a leadership training consultant in Jerusalem, says, “As a result of being ‘out’ about being of privilege, I’ve enabled other people in my life to also start funding.”

Money is such a loaded issue, whether you have it or not, so I admire these folks for being brave enough to be honest about their money. I also enjoy the idea of future philanthropists getting younger and younger.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2007 at 2:21 pm and is filed under General, In The News, Class. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 5 responses

  1. Courtney

    Hey JGL…great issue to bring up. I also encourage people to check out a book called Classified put out by Soft Skull Press about this issue. It is so critical that those with money continue to be rigorous about the ways in which they live their values. Poverty is not a value. Equality is.

    March 21st, 2007 | 4:05 pm
  2. “We get especially frustrated with young, wealthy people who act and live like they don’t have any money.”

    What does this looks like? Can you give an example?

    I love the idea of young philanthropy too, as opposed to how many massages can I get cause I’m soooo stressed out.

    Hot topic!

    March 21st, 2007 | 10:31 pm
  3. I was thrilled to hear that the Women’s Foundation in Kansas City has a Girls Grantmaking Program that teaches young women how to be philanthropists. The director of the Foundation told me that many of these young women say that the program was their favorite high school experience and that it actually shaped their careers and goals later on. For a list of similar programs, check out

    March 21st, 2007 | 10:54 pm
  4. Hey Kimmi, great question! Three words: Williamsburg Trust-Fund Hipsters.

    And I don’t think that philanthropy has to be done at the expense of the individual giver. I hope that these wealthy young philanthropists are taking care of themselves first, even if it means they’re buying themselves a country home, or whatever. I believe that if you have wealth and access, it’s your duty to A) take full advantage of that without hurting others, and B) make sure you can maintain it so you can continue to help others.

    Thanks for helping me clarify!

    March 21st, 2007 | 10:59 pm
  5. good link! I am working to understand that richness doesn’t just make people rich pricks. Some people sure….but it hard you know? it’s hard to see past the studios that have been in the family for years, past vacation homes and parent-paid cars.

    This is becoming more of a problem for me as I meet more people with money, some of it inherited. I see that they aren’t jerks…but it still doesn’t commute in my little working-class immigrant heart. In my heart my parents still work in factories, and I can’t afford the rich kid clothes.

    But how to reconcile that with our lives now? Oy…complex.

    March 25th, 2007 | 1:04 pm

Leave a reply