Activating Philanthropy – Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle

Editor’s Note: This article is Part Four in our four-part Activating Philanthropy series. In this series, we explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. For the rest of the series, check out Part One: Philanthropy in Daily Routines, Part Two: How to Call Your Congresswoman, and Part Three: Talking to Family Members About Giving. 

giving circle
The Women’s Giving Circle of Harford Count presented TasteWise Kids a $5,000 grant for its Days of Taste Program. The check presentation included Kim Malat, Sherifa Clarke, Riva Kahn, Ennise Bloom and Alice Welsh Leeds. In 2019, the Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County awarded 13 grants to nonprofits serving women and children, totaling nearly $45,000. (Image Credit: Jessica Moser / Baltimore Sun)

We’re almost finished with our Activating Philanthropy series! Thanks for joining us for this four-week series on activating philanthropy in your everyday life. Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’re tying everything together with one of the simplest and most effective forms of collaborative philanthropy: the giving circle

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NEID Gala Highlights Gender Lens Approaches to Global Justice

New England International Donors (NEID) held their annual Gala on April 8th, virtually of course. This gathering of international philanthropists was to celebrate the incredible work accomplished by the cohort throughout 2020. NEID is a rapidly growing community of engaged individuals and organizations whose aim is to “address the world’s big problems” by “living and giving boldly.”

NEID held a vibrant annual gala that included many noteworthy guests. (Photo Credit: New England International Donors)

Their mission is to learn from one another, join forces, and through this strategic network of collaboration, tackle inequity, climate change, and many of the world’s challenges that would’ve been insurmountable otherwise. This community is effective, to say the least, as around 45% of their members collaborate on projects together and 30% of their network support projects discovered directly through NEID.

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Activating Philanthropy – Part One: Philanthropy in Daily Routines

Editor’s Note: This article is Part One in our four-part Activating Philanthropy series. In this series, we explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. For the rest of the series, check out the upcoming installments: Part Two: What It Means to “Call Your Congresswoman”, Part Three: Talking to Family Members (Who Don’t Want to Talk to You), and Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle. 

activating philanthropy
Adding philanthropy into your daily routine can start with no cost to you. (Image Credit: Katt Yukawa)

Welcome to Philanthropy Women’s “Activating Philanthropy” series! This four-part series will explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. We invite you to take action in your own way, utilizing the guidelines in these articles, and sharing your experiences with your community!

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Flashpoint Podcast: Unique Power of Women’s Giving vs. Men’s Giving

In a recent episode of Flashpoint Podcast with Cherri Gregg, Kiersten Marek joined women’s philanthropy leaders to discuss the power of women’s giving and the research showing that women philanthropists are more giving than men, and their strategy is often quite different.

In a recent episode by the Flashpoint podcast, the role of women in Philanthropy was discussed with three key members of the community. The podcast panel, led by Cherri Gregg talked about the impact of women philanthropists and how they stack up against their male counterparts. 

Kiersten Marek joined Cherri Gregg and two other distinguished guests in women’s philanthropy on Flashpoint. (Image Credit: KYW Radio)

Kiersten Marek, social worker and founder of Philanthropy Women, was accompanied by Mary Broach, the co-founder of Impact100 Philadelphia and Mary Bentley LaMar, the North Atlantic Regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. 

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(Liveblog) Women’s Giving Circles: The Future of Latin America

On Thursday, March 19th, team members from Empatthy and a robust panel of speakers gathered online to celebrate the growing women’s giving circle movement in Latin America. Featuring Jeannie Sager (Women’s Philanthropy Institute), Carmen Stevens and Sondra Shaw-Hardy (Women’s Giving Circles International), Sara Lomelin (Philanthropy Together), and Rosa Madera (Fundadora Empatthy), the event was half celebration, half lively discussion of the future of collaborative giving in the Latin American region.

Juan Carlos Diaz Bilbao (BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network), the day’s moderator, introduced the event with thanks to the attendees, participants, and sponsors making the event possible.

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Lis Williams: “I Had It Within Me To Create Something New”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elisabeth Williams, Founder of AWE Partners, LLC, a social impact advisory firm that educates female entrepreneurs and executives on how to bake mission into their life and business for more passion, purpose, and profit.

Lis Williams is the Founder of AWE Partners, LLC, a social impact advisory firm dedicated to educating and empowering female entrepreneurs. (Image Credit: AWE Partners/Elisabeth Williams)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had known that there was a way to blend all of my passions and turn it into a career. 

I studied business in undergrad and then went on to pursue my MBA. I loved business, but I was also passionate about making a difference in the world. At the time I was in the corporate world, back in the late 80s and 90s, there wasn’t as much opportunity to merge profit and purpose. And there certainly wasn’t as much of a concern for people and the planet! I wish I had known that I had it within me to create something new – a new way forward.

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Philanthropy or Investing: Why Not Both?

When it comes to maximizing our financial impact, there is often an “either/or” approach to leveraging wealth. Do we use our dollars to fund a philanthropic effort, like a campaign or organization dedicated to women and girls, or do we turn our funds toward investment opportunities, like supporting companies with a strong commitment to diversity?

Ellen Remmer is a Senior Partner at The Philanthropic Institute (TPI) and Champion of Invest for Better. (Image Credit: Invest for Better/Ellen Remmer)

As new forms of giving spring up to meet the challenges — and opportunities — of a digital society, we are able to move further away from that attitude of “either/or.” There are ways to stretch our donor dollars further — through two types of collectives that maximize impact.

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Where Are Young Women in Philanthropy?

In the same ways that traditional philanthropy has been historically dominated by white, older, high net worth men, feminist philanthropy has a noticeable population gap in younger age groups. Young women, in particular, in an era of crushing student loans, underemployment, and uncertainty in the face of COVID-19, are noticeably absent from a movement dedicated to their wellbeing.

Young women’s activism is at an all-time high — but why are we missing from feminist philanthropy? (Image Credit: Gayatri Malhotra)

This is not to say that the younger generations aren’t pulling their weight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Young activists like Greta Thunberg and Sarah Goody are leading the way to revolutions in social justice and culture change. LGBT+ and POC youth are standing vanguard against discrimination, homophobia, and rollbacks of minorities’ legal rights.

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(Liveblog) How Justice and Giving Intersect with Philanthropy Together

On Wednesday, February 3rd, Philanthropy Together hosted the second part of their webinar series surrounding giving circles and social justice. Moderated by LiJia Gong of Radfund, the panel featured Sarah David Heydemann (Radfund), Mario Lugay (Justice Funders Giving Side), Marsha Morgan (Community Investment Network), and Sian Miranda Singh ÓFaoláin.

Sara Lomelin, Executive Director of Philanthropy Together, introduced the day’s moderator and panelists, and encouraged attendees to share their locations and organizations.

The Social Justice Giving Circle Project

Gong began by introducing The Social Justice Giving Circle Project, which explores the relationship between giving circles and today’s social justice movements, both how it currently exists and what’s possible in the future.

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Become an Invest for Better Circle Leader: Apply by February 10th!

If you’ve wanted to form an impact circle but aren’t sure how to get started, Invest for Better has the program for you. Applications are now open for the Spring 2021 Cohort of Invest for Better’s Circle Leader program. Kicking off on February 11th, this free training program offers the resources and know-how for women to form, lead, and grow their own impact investing circles.

The Spring 2021 cohort of Invest for Better’s Circle Leader training program begins on February 11th, 2021. (Image Credit: Invest for Better)

Invest for Better is a national initiative aimed at helping women demystify impact investing, take control of their capital and mobilize their money for good. It is non-profit and non-transactional, designed to address the “aspiration gap” between women’s interest and their action by overcoming obstacles to participation, and building trusted peer communities.

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