Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County Receives Grant from National Giving Circle Infrastructure Initiative
13 microgrants awarded to connect and catalyze the field nationally
August 22, 2019
As part of its campaign to strengthen, expand and diversify the movement of North American giving circles, a 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 Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County has received a grant that will support efforts to undertake foundational internal work to operationalize our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This work is part of the WGC’s new IMPACT 2024 Campaign.
“We are building on our core values to enhance our mission by implementing a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to and through our work - values that have always been important to us and that we are now prioritizing” says WGC Chair Barb Van Winkle.
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!”
Mcrogrants were awarded to:
Showcase the giving circle model
Scale the model by creating more circles and networks
Strengthen existing circles and networks
Sustain the collective giving movement
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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, email@example.com