Giving Circles

Acts of tenderness soothe the world, one soul at a time...

What is a Giving Circle?

Giving Circles are a new trend in philanthropy where people pool their resources – typically time, talent, and/or money – to promote social change. Giving Circles make philanthropy easy for people who are at different stages of their careers, income levels, and lives. In other words, you don’t have to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist.

Giving Circles are funded from the generosity of individual members. Each member generally contributes the same amount to the Circle annually. In return, the pooled resources enable the Circle to make a greater impact than would have been possible with smaller contributions.

A Giving Circle begins with a group of members devoted to raising funds and creating awareness for a social cause or issue. Members determine the structure of the Circle by deciding on group goals, the mission statement, requirements for membership, location and frequency of meetings, and selection criteria for grants. 

Why create a Giving Circle?

Creating a Giving Circle provides members the opportunity to connect with others who share a common interest in addressing specific community needs. Circles are a good way to meet new people, learn about community organizations and identify programs in need of assistance. 

Giving Circles enhance the welfare of community organizations and help members engage in the community and achieve confidence in their capabilities as donors.

How do I create a Giving Circle?

If you are interested in establishing a Giving Circle, please email to schedule an appointment. During our visit we will review the eight steps for creating a Giving Circle.

  • Choose the name of your Giving Circle and choose a liaison
  • Set up a contribution schedule to your Giving Circle (minimum $300/year/member)
  • Choose an issue or focus area
  • Develop criteria for determining who will receive grants
  • Create small work groups to conduct research and make visits
  • Review potential grant recipients
  • Make grant recommendations
  • Evaluate the impact of your giving

Click here to read the story of a local giving circle and how the power of friendship can create community change.

"The Community Foundation gave me the opportunity to give to the most people possible."

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Did You Know?

The Community Foundation made its first grant from the Community Impact Endowment in 1967. That grant, of $2,000, was funded by an estate gift from Bea Conrad.
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