On Saturday I was privileged to be part of a statewide gathering of folks who are part of local giving groups. It was fun to see old friends and make some new connections -- and to get inspired!   I was especially happy to make it out of my ice-lined street without hitting any of the young sledders who were setting new time records on the hill near my driveway! 

Giving groups or giving circles are sort of an oxymoron. The concept is often called “new and growing,” but it’s also a familiar, time-honed traditional phenomenon. A group of people come together to pool their charitable donations and collectively decide how they want to make grants.  These groups can be organized around a certain interest area or issue, and they allow for a wide range of giving styles, philosophizes, size and focus areas. 

NCCF is proud to work with a growing number of giving circles across the state. Our groups currently are driven by women and youth, and we’re also seeing some interest in giving groups for both genders organized around geographical areas. We believe involvement in giving circles engages people in charitable giving and in community needs in new and different ways. A community foundation is a great partner.

Our turnout Saturday was a bit smaller than we hoped due to lingering snow and ice, but a fire was lit among all the participants, especially when we were privileged to hear from Eugene Cho, who had traveled from Seattle to be with us. He is truly inspirational for both the usual and some surprising reasons. What is unique about his brand of inspiration is his sheer generosity. He and his wife were moved to donate one year’s wages to a nonprofit organization, despite having three young children! (You can watch a short video about his work here.)

Of course no one has to donate a year’s wages to become involved in charitable giving. He began an organization that encourages everyone to give one day’s wages. And the concept is very much like a giving circle, on a global scale.

The beauty of a giving circle is the leverage it provides. In your town, on your block --  in your world. Many gifts come together, small or large, to make impact.

The power of philanthropy.

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