Giving Compass' Take:

• Female philanthropists are creating a giving circle movement, where family, friends, or individuals with similar values can pool their resources together to address social problems.

• How can donors get involved with local giving circles? 

• Read about the benefits and opportunities of hosting a giving circle.

Giving circles bring people together to practice collective philanthropy. In the same spirit, representatives of giving circles and giving circle networks across the U.S. are now convening to build power.

And this past April—when 82 members of dozens of giving circles in the U.S. met for two days in Seattle, Washington, to share stories, hopes and plans for building a stronger giving circle movement—women were leading the conversation.

Giving circles allow friends, neighbors, families and people with religious, civil, cultural and other connections to learn about issues of shared concern and decide where to donate their money. They are usually created by women and/or members of ethnic minority, LGBTQ or other marginalized groups—those who typically hold a lesser share of power and money in the U.S.—though many open their doors to anyone with common values. Women make up most of their members.

These philanthropic clubs are often housed at community foundations and tend to address local needs, but some do focus on national or international causes. Along with direct grantmaking, giving circles are known to serve as a springboard for members to become more civically engaged in their local communities.

A 2016 study found giving circles had tripled in number since 2007, rising to 1,500. The researchers estimated the giving circles in their database had granted up to $1.29 billion in total since their inception. Giving circles engage tens of thousands of people and dole out tens of millions annually.

Read the full article about female giving circle movement by Julia Travers at Ms. Magazine.