The popularity of giving circles -- a form of philanthropy where donors with shared values pool their money to fund specific causes or organizations -- has exploded in recent years. In partnership with Grapevine, we’re spotlighting several circles that are centering equity in their work and addressing the root causes of social issues. 

Meet Conscious Giving Fund and its founder Tysus Jackson.

Tell us about the purpose of your giving circle. 

The Conscious Giving Fund brings together a community of givers to give intentionally to make an impact. Nonprofits are nominated by Conscious Givers featured in the Conscious Giving Guide. This past year, Conscious Givers selected nonprofits that are BIPOC-led or responded to COVID-19.

Please share more about the leadership of your giving circle. Who started it and why?

I have spent my career in the social profit sector, specifically, major gift fundraising. I realized that regardless of gift size, many people were not intentional in their giving. I always worked with donors to make intentional gifts for the greatest impact. This is how I created Conscious Giving -- giving with intent, for impact. The Conscious Giving Fund gives me the opportunity to reach many more people and change how people give. Most importantly, how they feel after they make a gift. If they feel their investment creates impact, giving won’t be transactional but joyful.

What progress have you made so far? 

The giving circle is new and we are building a community. The first priority is to build intentional giving. This year, the nonprofits featured in the Conscious Giving Guide came from across the country and are doing amazing work. I am so fortunate to work with other Conscious Giver’s who are committed to making an impact in their community, country, and world. I am excited for more people to start to do Conscious Giving.  

Why did you choose the giving circle model?

I was seeking to build a community that was an extension of the Conscious Giving Fund values. In graduate school, my scholarly research was primarily in African American giving and a giving circle felt like home. Grapevine made it very easy and seamless to create a giving community. I am grateful for being able to focus on building the community and not the infrastructure.  

What does impact and success look like to you?

The goal is creating more Conscious Givers. I want each person that gives in the Conscious Giving Fund to understand how being intentional creates impact. The fund is successful if all donors are intentional, regardless if they give $100 or $100 million.  

What do you want potential donors to know about giving circles and the issue you’re addressing?

This year has taught us that we are interconnected to each other. Giving circles present the unique opportunity to build community. After slavery, African Americans came together as a community to give. Although it was primarily through the church, giving was never done in isolation. Everyone moved around a cause to make an impact. I hope the Conscious Giving Fund can be that impactful -- to change the lives of the givers and the cause.  

How can donors get involved with your giving circle or generally participate in the giving circle movement?

The Conscious Giving Fund is on Grapevine and open to all. Those who give to the fund will have access to exclusive webinars about giving, intentional givers of their time, expertise, and financial resources and programs with Conscious Givers.