Giving Compass' Take:
- Sara Lomelin, Executive Director of Philanthropy Together, explains the potential of giving circles to democratize philanthropy by making it accessible to a diverse array of donors.
- How can you support collective giving practices that are diverse and equitable?
- Read more about the power of giving circles.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
As we reflect on the power of our vote to bring in this new administration, perhaps we should also be asking, where else can we apply democratic principles to create a more fair, just, and equitable society?
For Philanthropy Together’s Executive Director Sara Lomelin, the answer is simple. “Philanthropy. It is critical we look to this sector to continue to dismantle the oppressive systems that continue to make some well and others not. And, it is time we try and get all people involved in the process of giving within their community. Giving circles, which bring people together to pool their money, learn about issues facing their communities, and vote for organizations to support- well, they do just that.”
Lomelin’s wise statement comes at the end of a decade in which philanthropy, for better or for worse, continues to try to solve massive problems at scale. From problematic venture philanthropy, like young Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 Million gift in 2010 to the Newark public school system, to the growth of inspiring platforms like Philanos, the largest collective giving network for women’s giving circles and other collective giving groups who, since their conception, have mobilized over $140 million into the respective communities of their members.
Today, Philanthropy Together, with its mission to catalyze and mobilize a collaborative giving movement, is ensuring all socially conscious people have the tools and resources they need to begin and grow giving circles in their communities.
As giving circles democratize philanthropy into the future, tools like Launchpad are necessary but they must be accessible to all Americans to be effective. Although collective giving in our country has always been present in communities of color, many of these donors have gone unrecognized by mainstream philanthropy. If we want to truly see giving circles as a place to create more equitable change in our communities, it is key that existing and emerging groups embrace donors from diverse racial, ethnic, social, and cultural backgrounds. Lomelin addresses this by saying clearly and proudly that, “the collective giving movement has seen a shift in philanthropy in the last five years. You can feel it. Passionate, powerful, diverse individuals are engaging in giving circles now more than ever before: people of color, LGBT+, those without wealth - to name a few. The beauty of this movement is in its ability to bring people of all backgrounds together and make real change happen."
Read the full article about giving circles by Alyssa Wright at Forbes.