Posted on August 28, 2019
On August 20, 2019, an initiative to connect and catalyst the field of giving circles announced their intention to donate $32,000 to collective giving organizations. The funds, distributed in thirteen microgrants ranging from $500 to $5,000, will go toward circles and networks that “showcase, scale, strengthen, and sustain the field of collective giving.
This initiative is born out of a yearlong co-design process spearheaded by the organizations Amplifier, Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Catalist, Community Investment Network, and Latino Community Foundation.
Leading funders of the co-design process include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lodestar Foundation, and Bank of America.
The goal of the microgrants program is to empower organizations and networks committed to the concept of collective giving: a process in which interested donors join together, pool their financial resources, and invest in programs or organizations that strengthen their communities.”
Over the last year, these organizations identified four main strategies to amplify the field of collective giving:
The groups selected for the $32,000 in microgrants exemplify one or more of these four main strategies.
The first group of grantees showcase the giving circle model. Through community outreach, press relations, and scaled donation systems, these organizations seek to call attention to organizations that epitomize the concept of a “giving circle.” Grantees include (from the press release):
The next group of grantees were selected to scale the model by creating more circles and networks. Leaning on celebrated traits that draw communities together, such as cultural practices, religious beliefs, and LGBTQIA+ support, these organizations will build giving circles and networks that support members’ philanthropic and personal beliefs. Grantees include:
The third group will strengthen existing circles and networks. These grantees are committed to diversity and inclusion, education and research, and the development of toolkits and curriculum that organizations can use to spread their message. These organizations hope to boost giving across the nation by educating the public about the benefits of philanthropic networks and giving circles. Grantees include:
Finally, the fourth group of grantees sustains the collective giving movement through a mix of fundraising and campaigning. Funds will boost fundraising efforts for a wide variety of campaigns and organizations. They will also go toward the creation of databases, surveys, research projects, and online platforms that make the process of giving easier, more efficient, and more effective to spread to wider audiences. Grantees include:
When it comes down to it, this $32,000 project is really one large giving circle promoting the efforts and campaigns of multiple philanthropic network. By pooling resources — and by giving out thirteen smaller grants instead of a couple of larger ones — the twenty funders can more effectively use their collective $32,000 to make an impact in several different communities.
Many of the organizations receiving these microgrants contribute to philanthropy, giving circles, and the research and education related to them on both national and international levels. Together, these organizations will continue to expand and transform the realm of giving circles.
The focus on collective giving as a way to align with your community around key values and strategies, is an important new direction in philanthropy being driven primarily by women.
The effects of our actions, no matter how small, can have impressive and positive impacts. When we work together as a collective, we amplify the smallest of actions into something much larger.
For more information on the giving collective’s microgrants, read their press release online.
To learn more about giving circles, read about the impact of collective philanthropy as it spreads into an international movement. If you’re interested in getting more involved, sign up for “PowerUP!: The Spark that Ignites Change,” Catalist’s 2020 conference hosted in Seattle, Washington.
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