The idea of a giving circle is as simple as it is powerful: a group of individuals pool their resources and decide how to channel their generosity collectively.

Too often, when people think of philanthropists, they picture a group that is primarily rich, primarily white, primarily men, and primarily American. However, giving circles, one form of collective giving, bring together a widely diverse group of individuals coming together to support the causes and communities they care about. In short, giving circles help people engage in philanthropy, together.

The giving circle movement has been recognized as a growing trend since 2007 when initial research was done on its popularity. As the movement continued to shift the narrative of who engages in philanthropy, the Collective Giving Research Group (CGRG) conducted a landscape study to capture data and gain a deeper understanding of their tremendous growth. It was a pivotal move that not only gave the field a roadmap to amplify and empower giving circles and networks — it sparked the genesis of the infrastructure organization, Philanthropy Together.

Conducted in 2016, The Landscape of Giving Circles/Collective Giving Groups in the U.S. – 2016 came together under the leadership, guidance, and hard work of these exceptional professionals within the field.

The study’s findings were exciting: the researchers identified more than 1,600 giving circles around the U.S. that had engaged at least 150,000 people in all 50 states and given as much as $1.29 billion since their inception. This research gave the leaders of giving circles and collective giving groups a strong call-to-action moment by providing a comprehensive look at the needs, challenges, and successes of the giving circle movement.

Read the full article about giving circles by Isis Krause at Johnson Center .