The Latino Community Foundation is proud to be part of a national Giving Circle movement, alongside Amplifier, Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Catalist, and Community Investment Network. As part of its campaign to strengthen, expand and diversify the movement of North American giving circles, this group of giving circle networks and leaders, representing thousands of individual contributors, has made 13 microgrants to a diverse set of collective giving organizations. The grants will support the creation of new giving circles — especially among communities traditionally underrepresented in philanthropy — and help existing circles and networks create resources and build capacity to benefit the field at large.
The microgrants are part of a sustained effort, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lodestar Foundation, Bank of America, and 17 other funders, to diversify and democratize the field of philanthropy by amplifying the power and reach of the giving circles. Hundreds of giving circle stakeholders have been engaged in a yearlong co-design process led by Amplifier, Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Catalist, Community Investment Network, and Latino Community Foundation that has identified four strategies to move the field forward: showcasing the giving circle model, building broad awareness of giving circles and their manifold benefits; helping the field scale by supporting a variety of efforts to start new circles; providing resources and capacity-building to strengthen existing circles and networks; and sustaining the field with collaborative initiatives, funding, and action-focused research.
This effort comes as giving circles are exploding in popularity in America. A recent report from the Lilly School of Philanthropy found that the number of giving circles tripled to 1,500 between 2007 and 2017, and that giving circles have given as much as $1.29 billion in that time. Another recent study, by the Collective Giving Research Group, found that they offer a way to meaningfully engage people in giving and in engaging in their communities.
Giving circles are characterized by innovation and experimentation – circles are nimble, close to their communities, and strengthened by the diversity of opinions, identities, and experiences of their members. These microgrants, totaling $32,000 to 13 circles and networks, offer an opportunity to a wide variety of circles and networks to experiment with new models, create new resources, and form new partnerships. Grant amounts ranged from $500 to $5,000.
Paula Liang, a member of the core co-design team and Chair of Catalist, a network of 70 women’s funds, foundations and giving circles with 17,000+ individual members, noted that “those of us who have been in the giving circle world for a long time, often depending entirely on volunteer efforts, know how rare and important external funding can be – so we’re excited to see the impact that these new investments can produce!”
Microgrants were awarded to:
Showcase the giving circle model
- Next Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP) will facilitate discussions about collective giving in African American communities across all 100 counties in North Carolina. NGAAP will partner with local organizations (e.g., nonprofits, faith-based orgs, colleges) across the state and hold a “table talk” in each county. These events, open to the public and broadcast on social media, will aim to expose, educate, and encourage African American communities to develop and duplicate collective giving models. (North Carolina)
- The 100 Who Care Alliance, Dining for Women, and Global Impact will coordinate across their networks for greater regional impact in the mid-Atlantic. The grantees, who each operate giving circles in the greater D.C. metro area, will harmonize their promotional efforts to garner more attention from local press. They will work together to recruit new members and refer potential members to the circle that best fits their needs and interests. (DC Metro-area)
- Radfund will develop and disseminate a toolkit to help create giving circles that use its unique “percentage” contribution model to address issues of racial and economic injustice. Radfund’s collective giving model cuts across class and economic lines by setting proportionate, rather than flat, personal annual giving targets: 1% of income, and 0.1% of wealth. This approach has already helped Radfund create a vibrant, diverse circle in NYC supporting racial and economic justice. The toolkit will help Radfund spread this model to other issue areas and geographies. (National)
Scale the model by creating more circles and networks
- The Hmong Impact Giving Circle (HIGC) will build awareness and start giving circles in Hmong communities in the US. Over 350,000 Hmong live in the US, most having arrived from Southeast Asia in the past 40 years. Collective giving within extended families and clans is an established practice in Hmong culture; giving circles can help bridge the gap between that giving and more formalized philanthropy. HIGC will use this microgrant to both raise awareness in Hmong communities and create new Hmong giving circles across the US. (National)
- The American Muslim Fund (AMF) will advance Muslim philanthropy by sharing best practices about giving circles and by starting new circles. With a nationwide footprint and a prominent voice in Muslim philanthropy, AMF is well positioned to raise awareness about collective giving and to connect disparate efforts. This microgrant will help support existing Muslim giving circles, reinvigorate some that have stalled, and capture best practices. (National)
- MakingChange will establish a gay men’s giving circle that will use Jewish values to guide its giving. This microgrant will assist in the infrastructure and operational costs of starting a circle in New York City with an initial membership focus on gay Jewish men and focused initially on giving to LGBTQ organizations. (New York City)
Strengthen existing circles and networks
- For Her: A Black Women Giving Movement for Black Girls, Cothinkk, and Circle of Joy Atlanta will collaborate to create an equity-centered toolkit for the giving circle field. This new partnership will develop a publicly-accessible guide for giving circle leaders that uses equity-centered design, a solution-focused and outcome-driven process that infuses history, research, and data; addresses power dynamics; and includes effective community engagement that builds power. (National)
- Dining for Women (DfW) will give organizational leadership anti-bias training to further diversity and inclusion in chapters nationwide. DfW has engaged over 30,000 Americans in collective giving since 2003 – 98% of whom are white women. Training provided by the Anti-Defamation League will build leadership capacity among staff and board members for an organization-wide effort to diversify DfW circles. (National)
- The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County will undertake foundational internal work that operationalizes its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Specifically, the circle will form a committee focused on DEI; formulate and implement a DEI policy; and revise the circle’s core values to reflect this commitment. (Maryland)
Sustain the collective giving movement
- The 100 Who Care Alliance (100WCA) will strengthen its core financial infrastructure and survey its network. It will secure fiscal sponsorship for the network as a whole; and develop and implement a survey of its 450+ chapters, allowing 100WCA to better understand the needs and interests of its circles and their members. (National)
- Impact 100 Greater Cincinnati will establish a vehicle for planned giving to sustain the circle and develop an “Equity Champion Certificate.” Impact 100 will leverage its Directors to develop a campaign for planned giving among its founding members and board, a significant opportunity to ensure the network’s long term sustainability and a potentially useful template for the field. (National)
- The Awesome Foundation will support development of enhanced functionality of the open-source platform that drives the Awesome Foundation grant-making process and website. The Awesome Foundation’s user-friendly platform has already helped 94 chapters in 13 countries give nearly $4 million; this microgrant will add in online discussion of applications into the platform. (Global)
- The Learning by Giving Foundation (LxG) will develop a platform to assess its impact on the thousands of individuals that have completed its programs. The microgrant will fund the development of a database to record and track participant surveys that address the impacts of collective giving over time. This will allow LxG to both contribute to field-wide research and hone its own curriculum, which will be shared across the field. (National)
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Previous press coverage
The Chronicle of Philanthropy covered our project in November 2018 in “Giving Circles Grow in Diversity and Get an Assist from the Gates Foundation.” That same month, The New York Times recognized the growing power of giving circles in “When It’s Time for Giving, Some People Circle Around.”
Contact: Isis Krause, firstname.lastname@example.org