working together in philanthropy
A Giving Circle is a simple yet powerful concept: A group of individuals come together, each contribute to either an existing fund, or to establish a new fund at the community foundation, and annually those combined resources are used to award grants/scholarships to benefit the community.
By pooling resources together, this structure enables individuals to achieve a more significant impact with their charitable giving than they can achieve on their own. Each person participates in selecting the existing or newly created fund, and this provides the opportunity to learn more about the community, make a positive difference, and enjoy the company of others with shared interests.
Reasons to start a Giving Circle:
- Pooling money with others and focusing on a key issue can have a far greater impact than individual gifts.
- The collective wisdom and know-how of a group creates value and impact to charitable investments.
- Developing partnerships with a smaller number of charities can create a deeper level of involvement for donors and the nonprofits they support.
- It can be fun to be part of a group as well as fulfilling to contribute in such an innovative and insightful way.
Types of funds that can be started by a Giving Circle:
- Designated Fund - The Giving Circle specifies a Charity, School, or other Governmental Entity to receive the annual grants from their fund.
- Field of Interest Fund - The Giving Circle specifies a field of interest such as youth sports, women's leadership, fine arts, seniors, etc. This requires a grant process to determine recipients of the annual grants.
- Scholarship Fund - The Giving Circle establishes a scholarship with its own specific criteria for determining qualified candidates, and a selection committee must annually gather to read scholarship applications and to select the winner(s) of the scholarship.
- Donor Advised Fund - The Giving Circle annually recommends charitable causes that will receive their annual grants. The MCF Board must then approve the recommendation(s).