After college I volunteered and lived in a Catholic Worker community. Dorothy Day started the Catholic Worker in the 1930's, as a radical way to follow Jesus' teachings and to work for social justice. In our local Catholic Worker community we lived simply on donations and took no salaries. I got a stipend of $10 a week. Living there raised fundamental moral questions for me about money in our society, and about the money I had received from my grandparents ($300,000 after paying for college). I didn't know how much was enough, but I knew I did not want my money to be doing harmful things.
I searched for ways to align my money with my critical perspective: I withheld money from my income taxes that went to pay for war, and invested my money in no-interest loans to low-income housing organizations and to land-trusts, so the money could directly help others.
I gave away well over 50% of my income for several years and about 30% of my assets. I've given to the best disability-rights magazine in the world, to Argentina's and Seattle's Independent Media Center. to several urban-garden projects, and to murals, puppeteers and samba musicians protesting the US Army School of the Americas for the school's many human rights violations and escalating violence in Latin America.
We're friends with the Catholic Worker here in Vancouver, and with folks in Tacoma. I still feel a great affinity for the vision and values of the CW movement: simplicity, social justice, personal action to deal with systemic problems. I don't think those ideals will ever leave me, and I hope that I (and my money) can live up to them.
I am 39, my twins girls are 6. I'm moving to Canada where there is stronger safety net including health coverage. I still live pretty simply, and believe that people can support each other in community. If the economy enters another real depression, I'd rather have strong friendships and family than a bunch of paper that used to be worth something.
| 40 to 59 Years Old | Under $1M | at least 50% | Inheritance |
| Arts | Peace | Social Justice | Fairness | Simplicity |