GIVING CIRCLES: COMING TOGETHER TO INCREASE OUR IMPACTPublished: 04-17-2018
Giving Circles: Coming together to increase our impact
Have you ever been asked to join a giving circle and wondered how it works?
Perhaps you have been part of one and didn’t realize it. The giving circle method of philanthropy is one of the fastest growing forms of impact investing out there, and no wonder – it is fun, social and a great way to extend the impact that a lot of us can have individually. This month we thought we would explore what makes giving circles so popular and successful.
According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy “Nonprofit leaders have observed for years that giving circles are an increasingly important catalyst for charitable giving among small and midlevel donors, particularly women. But because the groups are often informally organized and managed, their popularity and collective giving power have gone mostly unquantified.”
Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who have recently funded detailed research into the effectiveness of giving circles, we can now see how the numbers add up.
The number of giving circles has more than tripled in the past decade and their giving has increased by more than $1 billion.
The study was an extension of the Gates’ involvement in creating, arguably, the most well-known giving circle in the world: The Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is an effort to have the ultra-rich commit to giving away the majority of their fortunes.
According to Jason Franklin, one of the researchers at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University: “They want to encourage other billionaires to commit to giving. But they know it’s not enough for just billionaires to give. We need everybody to step up.”
The Angeles Art Fund
This past year Angeles Wealth decided to galvanize the giving power and passion for art of some of our clients and friends by creating the giving circle The Angeles Art Fund – previously called “Angeles4Art.” The goal in starting The Angeles Art Fund was to gather like-minded art patrons and pool our resources to make annual grants to arts nonprofits with a social justice focus. It has created an opportunity for the members of the circle to learn about and engage in philanthropy in a new format, to support impactful arts nonprofits in a meaningful way, to build new friendships, and to pool our funds for greater impact.
“TheAngeles Art Fund is a wonderful opportunity to connect with clients, colleagues and friends and share something we are all passionate about social justice and arts philanthropy. It also provides us intimate access to artists at all stages of their careers, invitations to gallery openings, museum tours and cultural events, and an insider’s view into the working of the art world in Los Angeles.”
– Marta Ferro Angeles Wealth Senior Managing Director and Co-Founder of The Angeles Art Fund
“I have been an art advisor for 25 years and so much of my work is simply about the buying and selling of art. I wanted to find a way to bring together my friends and colleagues to share an interest for art in a non-commercial atmosphere, to learn about emerging artist, talk about ideas and support the work of the nonprofit organizations that are often giving these artists their start.”
-Victoria Espy Burns – Art Advisor and Co-Founder of The Angeles Art Fund
Together our impact is greater
While giving circles are tiny compared with huge donors and foundations, some think they are the future of philanthropy. Many don’t require large sums to participate, and can allow donors to feel their money is making a difference.
In 2015, less than 24 percent of Americans reported a charitable gift on their taxes, down from a period from 2000 to 2006, when it routinely hit at least 30 percent.
“I don’t think giving circles are the answer for everyone, but it’s been important for me andmy giving-circle sisters. I know for certain each of us is giving more because we’re doing it
with people we respect and share values with.”
– Hali Lee, co-founder of the Asian Women
Giving Circle in New York
One reason for the decline in individual gifting, says Elizabeth Roma, assistant
director of research at the Helen Brown Group, a prospect-research consultancy, is that smaller donors don’t feel their gifts make much of a difference when they hear about the billions being given away by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other mega donors. Giving circles, she says, provide people with more of a sense of purpose.
We encourage others to research giving circles in their community to join, such as Social Venture Partners, and to come together and start your own initiatives centered around a common area of philanthropic passion if you can’t find an existing opportunity. It can be small to start, but the combined impact that your group may have over time could be bigger than you imagined.
To learn more about The Angeles Art Fund, Angeles Wealth Management and our Philanthropic Family service please visit www.angeleswealth.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Propelled by Strong Growth, Giving Circles Start to Realize Their Own Clout
By Alex Daniels First published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy Nov 14th 2017
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