FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New National Giving Circle Initiative Launching in 2020 to Scale & Strengthen the Growing Collective Giving Movement
January 15, 2020 — A group of giving circle networks and individual circles is joining forces to launch a new national initiative in 2020 that will connect and catalyze the growing American giving circle movement with an initial, three-year grant of $2 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation’s lead gift will enable the not-yet-named initiative to begin to execute on a robust and ambitious five-year plan to democratize and diversify philanthropy through field-wide resources and programs that will strengthen existing circles and networks and enable everyday givers to build their own giving circles.
The project’s vision is ambitious: “We imagine a world where hundreds of thousands of people are in values-aligned, money-moving communities, engaging in intentional giving by building bridges with fellow givers, and taking collective action to create lasting change in the world.” Over the next five years, it aims to grow the movement to 3,000 giving circles and over 350,000 members. As Marsha Morgan, chair of the Community Investment Network, a network of African-American giving circles, explains: “We believe in a philanthropic landscape in which ALL donors can participate and are committed to building philanthropic infrastructure that supports collective givers, especially those traditionally underrepresented in philanthropy so that new resources are leveraged for communities, issues, and to reduce disparities.”
Giving circles offer a powerful experience of community-driven philanthropy. Circles can vary in size, location, and focus, but they share the same basic approach: members come together, pool their resources, and collectively contribute to the causes they deem most important. Research clearly demonstrates that over time, giving circle members become more strategic in their giving and more engaged as change-makers in their communities. Hali Lee, Founder, Asian Women Giving Circle, explains the power of this model of expanding philanthropy: “The potential growth of giving circles is fueled by their appeal to individuals of all ethnicities, ages, income levels, and backgrounds. They enable anyone to see themselves as a philanthropist and to build community, connections, and meaning through their giving.” Masha Chernyak, VP of Programs and Policy for the Latino Community Foundations, adds that “when philanthropy is transparent, exciting, and involves those most affected by deep rooted issues, real change is possible!”
The new initiative will provide backbone infrastructure to support the grassroots giving circle movement that has been building the past several decades. It is the result of over two years of collaborative effort by dozens of giving circle networks, individual circles, researchers, and other stakeholders to “co-design” solutions needed to strengthen this growing movement. Over the past year, the process has been shepherded by a leaders of 5 giving circle networks: Felicia Herman and Liz Fisher of Amplifier, Hali Lee of Asian Women Giving Circle and Donors of Color Network, Paula Liang of Philanos, Marsha Morgan of Community Investment Network, and Jacqueline Garcel, Masha Chernyak, and Sara Lomelin Velten of Latino Community Foundation.
The group worked alongside strategy and facilitation consultant Isis Krause of Knead Partners, and as the project began to take shape, formed a partnership with Global Impact, a field-leading backbone support provider for global nonprofits, to provide fiscal and operational support.
The collaborative nature of the co-design process, which engaged over 100 stakeholders, reflects the core values of the giving circle model itself, as Paula Liang, chair of Philanos, explains: “we harnessed the assets of everyone in the group – their wisdom, networks, time, talents, and their financial resources – in service of our shared goals. The ultimate goal is to support, not supplant, the work already happening out in the field, so we can help the movement advance faster.”
The co-design process yielded a 5-year plan to build out four interconnected strategic priorities, each with its own set of key activities grounded in principles of diversity, equity and inclusion:
- The will Showcase giving circles through major branding and marketing efforts that will increase the visibility of the entire giving circle community;
- Scale the number circles and circle members by making it easier than ever for individuals with a vision to come together to make a difference in the areas they care about;
- Strengthen giving circle members and leadership through developing resources, trainings, and gatherings; and
- Sustain giving circles through an online giving circle hub that will provide tools to streamline giving circle and circle network operations.
The initiative has already launched a search for an Executive Director to lead the charge for this ambitious project.
Amplifier ignites, strengthens, and informs giving inspired by Jewish values. It leads an international network of 120+ circles inspired by Jewish values that engages 3000+ givers.
Asian Women Giving Circle is a New York City-based giving circle amplifying the transformative power of arts and culture to advance an equitable and just society. Over $1,000,000 has been invested in communities since 2006.
Philanos is a network of 80 women’s giving circles, funds, and foundations that give in whole or in part like giving circles. 17,000+ individual members in 28 states, the District of Columbia and several international affiliates annually invest $15 million+ in their communities.
Community Investment Network supports a network of 18 giving circles impacting African Americans and communities of color. Since 2004, members have collectively awarded over $2M in grants, and volunteered over 650,000 hours, valued at ~$16M dollars.
Latino Community Foundation is the only statewide foundation solely focused on the Latino population and hosts the largest network of Latino philanthropists in the nation with 500 members in 22 Latino Giving Circles.
Global Impact works on charitable ventures to inspire greater giving. Serving as a trusted advisor, intermediary and implementing partner across the private, nonprofit and public sectors, Global Impact has raised nearly $2 billion for a wide range of charitable causes.
Isis Krause (she/her) has worked to shift the landscape of philanthropy through the power of collective giving for nearly a decade. She led the original co-design process that birthed Philanthropy Together in 2018 — an extension of her work with Amplifier, a network and platform for hundreds of Jewish-values inspired giving circles, and the Natan Fund in 2013. As Chief Strategy Officer she pushes to expand the vision and impact of PhT’s work, build partnerships in the field, and create/facilitate programming.