Redistributing White Wealth

TC SURJ's Redistributing White Wealth campaign is a small step towards local reparations for Black and Indigenous people in Tompkins County. The campaign is an opportunity for white folks to take responsibility for unearned access to resources due to white supremacy and move money as an act of solidarity, not charity.

Use the form below or this page to start moving money today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the money go?

The goal is to redistribute money to amazing BIPOC-led anti-racist activist organizations in Tompkins County. Every month, we will split the money evenly among these organizations:

Logistically, SURJ collects contributions via our Donorbox site and writes a check to each of these organizations every month.

Is this a tax-deductible donation?

No. We are not a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Even though the website we’re using calls this a “donation,” we encourage you to see it as redirecting additional income you receive because of structural racism—not as charity.

How do I change or cancel my monthly commitment?

You can create an account with Donorbox to manage the money you move. Go to their website and choose “Donor Login” from the “Login” menu.

Can I send money to just one of these organizations? How about a one-time payment?

Money moved through this campaign is a monthly commitment and goes equally to all of the partner organizations. You can separately send money directly to these organizations if you want by seeking them out individually.

What’s the relationship between this campagin and reparations?

It’s related but different. Actual reparations have a specific definition, and they include things like cessation of ongoing harm and guarantees of non-repetition. For more background on reparations, see this toolkit from the Movement for Black Lives.

More about the campaign

Why redistribute white wealth?

One of SURJ’s core values as a national organization is “there is enough for all”. While we know that there are enough resources to go around and take care of everyone’s basic needs, wealth is distributed unfairly and is deeply impacted by white supremacy, including the historical realities of slavery, land theft, housing discrimination, food apartheid, environmental racism and more. Although certainly not all white people have access to excess wealth, due to systemic racism, the typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Latinx family. The median white worker in 2021 made 26% more income than the median Black worker. In other words, white people hold a vastly disproportionate amount of wealth in this country and have a large role to play in working towards economic justice for all.

Here in Tompkins County, there are many BIPOC-led organizations working to address systemic racism and its impacts. Because of the racial wealth and income gaps, their work is often impacted by limited resources, including time and money. Even grant funding can cause challenges by restricting uses of the money, requiring staff time to complete applications and reporting, and at times failing to acknowledge racism within review and decision-making processes. 

The goal of SURJ’s Redistributing White Wealth Campaign is to move some of the money that white folks in Tompkins County have access to into BIPOC-led anti-racist organizing work on an ongoing basis, with no strings attached. 

We understand that this proposed campaign is only one small step towards the redistribution of white wealth; however, we believe it’s an important step. Initiatives like this one are being launched in many other communities. It is our hope and vision that this campaign and others like it will eventually lead to broader actions at the local, state and national levels (such as taxing the rich, the land back movement, and the passage of national reparations legislation like H.R. 40). 

Will you join us in redistributing wealth in Tompkins County?

It’s easy! All you will have to do is set up a recurring contribution of any amount to our Redistributing White Wealth fund. You don’t have to be wealthy to contribute. Social science research shows that those with lower incomes actually give a greater percentage of their money than those with higher incomes. Maybe you can contribute $8/month, in recognition of the fact that white families have, on average, 8 times the wealth of Black families. Or maybe you are a higher income earner, and are able to contribute $26/month, or even 26% of your monthly income, in recognition of the 26% more income that white workers earn on average compared to Black workers. Maybe you can contribute $100, or even $1000, per month. Choose an amount that feels meaningful to you. You can always adjust your contribution if your circumstances change. When you think about how much you can contribute, consider that this is not a charity project, but a redistribution of wealth in response to systemic racism. 

TC SURJ has partnered with BIPOC-led anti-racist organizations in Tompkins County since our founding—this accountability is core to all the work we do. This new project is intended to increase available resources for our partners, not to replace all the other ways that we strive to support racial justice work in our community. We have been in conversation with some of our partners as we begin to plan for this initiative, and will continue checking in with these and other partners to adapt the project as needed.

Read more

See our November, 2022 press release here.

Article in Tompkins Weekly from December, 2022