An Unusual Women’s Giving Circle in Boston Fuels Social Change Globally

Members of the NEID Women’s Giving Circle, from left to right, front row: Diana Rowan Rockefeller, Rebecca Obounou, Odette Ponce, Emily Nielsen Jones, Jackie Jenkins Scott, Amy Brakeman. Back Row: Constance Kane, Liz Sheehan, Mary Kay Miller, Laura DeDominicis, Ina Breuer, Clare Reilly, Nika Elugardo, Ellen Remmer, Kathy LeMay.

We know from the research coming out of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute that giving circles are growing, and women’s giving circles in particular are on the rise. But what does a giving circle really look like on the ground? How do they make decisions that are well-informed and that carry out the group’s intentions?

To find out more, I recently attended the New England International Donors (NEID) Global Changemaker’s Gala in Boston, an event that brought together a wide range of givers and giver groupies to celebrate the NEID Giving Circle’s donations to social change. The event featured a keynote conversation between NEID member David Campbell and Petra Nemcova, supermodel and philanthropists specializing in disaster relief rebuilding and education (she has funded the creation of 165 schools), who spoke to the group about the way in which disaster relief tends to focus on first response. Nemcova takes a more holistic (and, I would argue, feminist) approach to disaster relief — committing to long-term support to help countries affected by natural disasters.

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Check Out #FundWomen Remixed with Storify

An interesting new tool called Storify helps to aggregate a social media conversation into a story. This is the first one I have created, and it was pretty easy!

The Storify helps to see who participated and to review what everyone said. We had some excellent questions and commentary, including participation from PBS To the Contrary, Philanthropists Ruth Ann Harnisch (disclosure: she is a sponsor of Philanthropy Women) and Jacki Zehner, as well as many nonprofits and women’s funds. Check it out!

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Tomorrow at 11 AM EST, Join the Conversation to #FundWomen, and Get a Tweet Preview Here

I’m excited about the #FundWomen Twitter Chat, starting tomorrow at 11 AM EST.   Also joining the conversation: clothing company Michael Stars, which has a foundation and uses its philanthropy to effect positive change for women. Below is a sneak peek of a few of my upcoming tweets! Here’s part of my answer for Question #2:  How and why do you opt to fund women’s rights organizations?
The Women’s Living Room donated $1,788 to Artists Exchange for theatre scholarships for girls. Pictured are Women’s Living Room donors, from left, Linda Harris, Lammis Vargas, Kiersten Marek, Kate Aubin, Mike Sepe, Elaine Yeaw from The Artists’ Exchange, City Council President John Lanni, and Paula McFarland.

I saw how my daughters flourished from improv programs at @ArtistsoExchange, so had confidence in their work. I started a giving circle and we made a grant of $1,788 to @ArtistsExchange to fund scholarships for girls #fundwomen #nationalphilanthropyday  https://buff.ly/2iaNZHW

For Question #4: Why is philanthropy so important when it comes to women’s rights and gender equality?

Leaders of Dallas Women’s Foundation, California Women’s Foundation, The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, New York Women’s Foundation, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham and Ms. Foundation on stage at the United State of Women Summit on June 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Philanthropy has the capacity to catalyze a feminist economy. Women’s leadership can move us toward economic models that bring prosperity to families and transform relationships from exploitative to collaborative.#fundwomen #nationalphilanthropyday https://buff.ly/2AHNsVy

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To #FundWomen, Join Us on National Philanthropy Day

We all have a unique journey in giving, and now that my journey has landed squarely on feminist philanthropy, I am excited to host a Twitter chat on National Philanthropy Day, to discuss my journey as a giver and to learn about your journey. I believe that by conversing, we can do more than we realize to help each other along the way.

The Twitter Chat will take place on National Philanthropy Day, Wednesday, November 15th, at 11 AM EST it, and will last for one hour. The chat is being hosted by Women Thrive Alliance, one of our spotlight organizations, and will focus on the following:

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Women Givers: This New Platform Will Help You Empty Your Closets for Your Favorite Cause

Christena Reinhard is Co-Founder of Union & Fifth, which makes it easy to sell designer clothes for a cause, and has a specialty campaign around gender equality with Eileen Fisher Foundation.

One thing that repeatedly intrigues me in philanthropy is the way that women leaders put together the components of giving and social progress in new and creative ways, in order to maximize deployment of funds to important causes. Nearly every week, I come across a new combination of philanthropy and social action that a woman is pioneering.

This week’s amazing tale of women doing good in the world comes from the online retail sector and a new hub for online shopping called Union & Fifth. This nonprofit online store makes it easy for you to donate women’s designer clothing, shoes, and handbags, and choose a cause for where the money will be donated.

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Intense Conversations About the Future of Women’s Philanthropy at DREAM. DARE. DO.

Ahh, the memories.

I recently returned from DREAM. DARE. DO. in Chicago, the every-three-year (maybe more often now!) convening of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.

Wow. I am still reeling from the experience. It was an intense two days of immersion in conversation about women’s leadership in philanthropy, where it is coming from and where it will be going in the brave new political climate of a Trump presidency.

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) sponsored this amazing conference, held at the Magnificent Mile Marriott in downtown Chicago. Led by Debra Mesch and Andrea Pactor, WPI is one of the biggest hubs for  knowledge on gender and philanthropy.

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Why Civil Society Tops the Agenda for Women’s Philanthropy at DREAM, DARE, DO

Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of the YWCA and opening speaker for Dream, Dare, Do on March 14, 2017 in Chicago.

Grassroots activism is on the rise, from Standing Rock to the Women’s March on Washington to local organizing across the country. In the midst of all this, what better thing to do than attend a conference that is all about how to enhance civil society — the engagement of citizens in collective activity for the common good.

With this focus on growing civil society, the 2017 Symposium of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute offers panelists, speakers, and interaction aimed at understanding how women envision a better society, and then dare to take action to create that better place.

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The List of Most Powerful Women in Philanthropy is Growing, and We Need Your Help

Last year when I was writing for Inside Philanthropy, David Callahan and I co-authored a list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy. It was a big hit. This year, I have decided to follow up and develop eight shorter lists. The lists will start with Emerging Most Powerful Women.

Why start with emerging? Using emerging women leaders as our starting point helps us get a sense of how these women are influencing some of the changing dynamics of philanthropy. Some of the emerging women are quite different from the more established women leaders in philanthropy. Many of these emerging leaders take a strong stance on the need for philanthropy to be more integrated into the economy and inclusive of marginalized groups. A heightened awareness of the need for collaboration across sectors to achieve systemic change is also a key point for many of them.

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Beyond Planning Fundraisers: How Women’s Giving Circles Move Millions for Children’s Nonprofits

Jacqueline Caster

“When you think of the big gala events, you have to scratch your head and say, ‘why do people go to all that effort?’ I mean, those can be effective fundraisers, if done responsibly. But when they net very little or fail to  break even, doing nothing but raising awareness, I don’t buy into that.”

These are the words of Jacqueline Caster, founder and president of the Everychild Foundation, and master of the art of creating women’s giving circles—an effective and increasingly popular way to raise money.

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Giving Circles Get New Attention from The Rhode Island Foundation

How great to see The Rhode Island Foundation embracing giving circles and offering to provide matching funds to six giving circles that meet their criteria. From the Foundation’s website:

The Rhode Island Foundation seeks up to six informed and engaged community leaders who are interested in forming, leading, and facilitating small groups of peer networks organized around charitable giving. Giving circles are groups of people who pool their donations and decide together how to distribute them. Groups typically have a shared interest or connection, but it’s not required. Individual giving circles will have the ability to set their own member requirements and giving levels.

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