Cheyenna Weber: Creating a Solidarity Economy Giving Project

Attendees at the Solidarity Giving Project annual party. (Photo credit: Zachary Shulman)

Editor’s Note: Fascinating things are going on in the realm of giving circles and community giving projects. We are pleased to share this piece by Cheyenna Layne Weber, one of the founders of Solidarity Economy Giving Project in New York City, which aims to bring together donors in new ways. 

From Cheyenna Layne Weber:

There are more than 2,000 solidarity economy organizations in New York City, most of them founded and maintained by women. These democratic, member-led groups take different legal forms, but hold certain values in common—social and racial justice, ecological sustainability, mutualism, and cooperation. They include low-income credit unions; cooperatives providing food, affordable housing, and childcare; cooperatives of farmers and workers; community gardens and land trusts; and community-supported agriculture. Together, these form a solidarity economy based on meeting material needs rather than making profits. (Explore these models in this short video.)

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Third Wave Fund’s Sex Worker Giving Circle Announces First Grantees

Third Wave Fund’s new Sex Worker Giving Circle has made its first $200,000 in grants to organizations across the U.S.

With $200,000 in new funding, sex worker organizations and advocates across the U.S. will have more resources to address safety, worker’s rights, and political power in the new year. Third Wave Fund, a 20-year-old foundation, recently announced its inaugural grantees from the first and only Sex Worker Giving Circle, a new collective created by the fund in 2018.

This new giving circle is unique in many ways. The Sex Worker Giving Circle (SWGC) is the first sex worker-led fund housed at a U.S. foundation. SWGC consisted of 10 Fellows who were trained and supported by Third Wave Fund in order to raise more than $100,000 of the grant funding, design the grant-making process, and decide which organizations would receive funding grants, which ranged from $6,818 to $21,818.

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Philanthropy Women Top 10 Posts of 2018

Top posts on Philanthropy Women in 2018 featured major investments in women and girls of color, strategies working to increase political leadership of women, and profiles of new leaders in the field.

It was an amazing year for women’s philanthropy. Amid an increasingly hostile political climate, women managed to get elected to public office in record numbers, partially due to the influence of women donors. In addition, the events of #MeToo and the Kavanaugh hearings served to highlight how prevalent sexual assault and harassment are, and how far we still have to go to become a culture that truly values women and prioritizes their safety and equality.

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Giving Circles Gain Infrastructure Support from Big Funders

Giving circle networks are getting anchor support from big funders including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in order to grow giving circle activity across America.

With the advent of new technologies to accelerate donating money and distributing grants, giving circles are the cutting edge of how many communities are finding and funding their causes. Now, a significant group of giving circles and funders are coming together to enhance the potential for giving circles to impact the philanthropy landscape.

This new partnership is led by five giving circles and collective giving networks, many of which bring unique social and cultural foci to the collaboration.  These five networks are coming together to “engage dozens of stakeholders across the philanthropic sector to design efficient and effective infrastructure to scale and strengthen the American giving circle movement.”

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Another Women’s Giving Circle is Born: Waterbury Giving Circle Makes Inaugural Grants

Butterflies with Voices is one of the inaugural grantees of the newly formed Women’s Giving Circle serving Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills, Connecticut. This photo depicts staff members from Butterflies with Voices helping Women’s Giving Circle members learn about their project at a circle meeting. (Photo courtesy of Connecticut Community Foundation.)

While women’s giving circles are a growing phenomenon in the United States, we thought it would be interesting to touch down in the real world with a giving circle that has newly arrived on the scene: Waterbury, Connecticut’s Inaugural Women’s Giving Circle. 

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Potluck Power: How This Women’s Giving Circle Feeds Global Gender Equity

Photo from a 2018 trip to Rwanda for Dining for Women Members to learn about grantees.

Sharing food: one of the ultimate human communing experiences. Now imagine sharing food with a group of generous women who, like you, want to make every dollar they give to charity count toward helping women and girls and addressing gender equality in developing countries.

Welcome to Dining for Women (DFW), a global giving circle dedicated to funding social change for women and girls.  At monthly potluck dinners, members come together and discuss today’s issues impacting women and girls, particularly the organizations being funded that month, and in the process, these 8,000-plus women raise more than a million dollars annually to fight for gender equity. Dining for Women was founded in 2003, and many chapters have already had 10 or even 15 year anniversaries.

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Continuing the Legacy of African American Giving: HERitage Giving Circle

Guest Author and Philanthropist, Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Editor’s Note: The following guest post is written by Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew, philanthropist and founding officer of the HERitage Giving Fund.

As a child, I saw my parents in Shreveport, Louisiana helping others.  At the time, I didn’t realize that the trips to visit the sick, the donations to those in need or even delivering cooked meals, were part of philanthropy in my community.  My involvement in service began as a teen volunteering and has not stopped.  I have made a life of giving.  I now call myself a philanthropist, something I would not have called myself years ago because I didn’t realize that, like my parents, I was a part of this work.

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Ripple Effect: Longtime Expert to Cultivate Giving Circles Worldwide

Sondra Shaw Hardy is one of the founding thinkers behind the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. Author of six books on philanthropy. Shaw Hardy is now launching a new organization focused on accelerating giving circles internationally.

“I remember standing up at a conference 16 or 17 years ago and saying that my dream is that there will be a women’s giving circle in every city in America,” says Sondra Shaw Hardy. “I feel that my goal now is to take giving circles worldwide.” To that end, Shaw Hardy is starting a new organization called Women’s Giving Circles International, which will make expanding the giving circle model globally its primary goal.

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Philanthropy Women’s Top 10 Posts for 2017

What a year to take on writing about gender equality philanthropy! 2017 was a year of barriers being broken in the conversation about safety for women. This past year also brought a renewed appreciation for feminism in philanthropy, activism, and political leadership.

2017 was a tremendous year to be writing about gender equality philanthropy. In the wake of Trump’s election in 2016, women in progressive circles rallied their resources for fighting back against the coming regression. Our top ten posts help to recall the many ways that women joined the resistance and continued the fight. At #6, for example, Emily Nielsen Jones delves into the experience of coming together for the Women’s March last January. Meanwhile, at #2, one of the most unusual giving circles in the country celebrates its ability to reach women on the other side of the globe. At #5, we hear from Kimberle Crenshaw, law scholar and fierce advocate for philanthropy to reach out more to women and girls of color.

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Hell No, We Won’t Go! A Guide to Repealing the Trump Tax

Expect to hear a lot more about repealing the tax law here at Philanthropy Women over the coming year. It’s time to pull out all the stops and take back our democracy.

With Christmas over, it’s now time to get down to business and develop a strong agenda for 2018. At the top of that agenda for progressive donors, in my opinion, is repealing the Trump Tax that recently passed. This legislation does more to hurt the middle class and nonprofits than can be tolerated in a society that still prides itself on equality and freedom.

Here are just a few choice details about how this law will deter giving for the middle and upper middle class. The law’s discouragement of itemized deductions by raising the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, is estimated to reduce the number of itemized tax returns from the current 30% to only 5%. That means only 5% of people will have enough charitable and other deductions to qualify for itemizing their taxes. This change strikes a devastating blow to families in the $70,000 to $200,000 income level, who often stretch their giving in order to qualify for the charitable tax exemption at $12,000. Between the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction, some middle class families would be able to qualify for the $12,000 deduction threshold. By giving an extra two or three thousand or more, they are often supporting nonprofits in the community (their local church, food bank, or domestic violence shelter) getting a tax break, too.

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