Numbers don’t lie, and one truth is evident: global giving circles are steadily on the rise.
The Collective Giving Research Group recently published their study on global giving circles, not including the US, that revealed a 92 percent growth in giving circles within the last decade. These results make me incredibly optimistic for the growing global collective giving movement!
As of 2018, there are 426 giving circles operating outside of the US, made up of 42,200 members, with more than $45 million in grants invested– a sizable contribution toward the greater good and powerful gesture of vision, tenacity and generosity.
This proves two things:
- People around the world are taking the initiative to uplift and invest in their own communities
- Substantial funding is possible when strategy and a passion for positive change unites
At Philanthropy Together, we are doing our part as the cultural fabric of giving circles widens and strengthens in numbers, donations and consciousness. Our mission is to connect as many individuals, communities and partners as possible within the giving circle movement, and that’s not just talk, it’s a pledge we passionately and firmly continue to put into action.
In 2020, we broke records by training 120 individuals to start new giving circles around the world through the Launchpad For You program. This is the largest concentrated effort to scale the collective giving movement to date, and we’re only just getting started.
We engaged with participants from seven countries outside the U.S., including Brazil, Chile, Mexico, China, Ukraine, Germany and Canada. Each of these participants came to Launchpad with brilliant ideas like Launchpad For You graduates Cara and Rosa from Amigos de San Cristobal who are starting a giving circle that supports organizations working with women and girls in underserved communities in Chile. And Joao Paulo, another graduate launching a giving circle to improve the lives of children living in his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
To expand this movement on a larger scale, we partnered with organizations moving the needle on giving circles around the world. Through the Launchpad For Partners program, Philanthropy Together provides curriculum, resources and training to leaders who wish to start many giving circles.
In the fall of 2020, we joined forces with our first global partner, LAZOS, to launch Launchpad for Partners, a giving circle incubator program co-facilitated with partner organizations. A community innovation platform for Jewish young professionals in Ibero-America, LAZOS, launched its first pop-up giving circle in 2018 in collaboration with Amplifier, which ignites, strengthens, and informs giving to transform and grow philanthropy inspired by Jewish values and wisdom, including through building and sustaining giving circles. The success of the first pop-up giving circle was a testament to the region’s interest and confirmed LAZOS’ investment in introducing the collective giving model to their members. .
Together with Amplifier, we brought our giving circle incubator model to Latin America and launched LaunchpadLazos, a five-week virtual leadership curriculum to train a cohort of leaders to start their own giving circles.
The program officially launched this past fall, and after five interactive sessions, a group of young Jewish professionals from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica will now start coaching sessions with seasoned giving circle members from the Latino Giving Circle Network. Each of these nascent giving circles will be different, with its own culture and values, but all of them rooted in the power of the collective. These new leaders know that they can always reach out to members of their cohort, or to our team to answer questions or to root for them.
While keeping our eyes on big-picture goals, and celebrating the success of our Launchpad programs, we are excited to be partnering with our very own Launchpad For You graduates Felix Dresewski and Michael Alberg-Seberich of Wohnzimmerspende.de, a Germany-based virtual giving circle that brings people together to address the future of civil society in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we’ll establish LaunchpadGermany this year with an ecosystem of giving circles and build on its existing collective giving movement.
With so many fantastic projects and partnerships lined up in 2021, I’m happy and humbled to be a part of Philanthropy Together as we keep the momentum of the giving circle movement going. And I’m so excited with the results of the Collective Giving Research Group’s study. It showcases the brilliance and fortitude of everyday people who are caring and determined to make a difference right where they are.
As giving circles continue to grow, Philanthropy Together will continue to teach, encourage and uplift individuals and groups with aspirations to fulfill philanthropic goals through the power of collective giving. If you’re thinking of starting a giving circle, join our next Launchpad For You cohort to learn everything you need to know!
Sara Lomelin (she/her) is a connector of people and ideas, a relationship builder and a firm believer that everyone can be a philanthropist. A self-proclaimed philanthropy disruptor, Sara has traveled the world speaking about the power of collective giving and the correlation between civic engagement and Latino philanthropy. She is an expert in diversifying philanthropy. As founding CEO of Philanthropy Together, Sara is growing a movement of people-powered philanthropy to resource grassroots nonprofits, shift power dynamics, and promote widespread philanthropy..