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We give awards because it’s fun to celebrate the impact of our philanthropy and the women in our network who we know and respect and inspire us.  We also give them because it’s a meaningful way to elevate the voices, stories, and important work being done in the field by these women and their affiliates on behalf of us all, and in support of the growing collective giving movement.

Spotlight Awards

The Willoughby Award Nominees

"Congratulations on an incredibly well run, inspiring and FUN virtual event!  I loved hearing what other groups around the country are doing in terms of collective giving.  Particularly, I am heartened to learn about the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in funding."

In case you missed our virtual awards celebration, checkout our  Slides  |  Recording  |  Podcast

Sara Lomelin
Executive Director
Philanthropy Together

Sara shared an energizing message about the importance of the work everyone in the Philanos network is doing and what these past 26 years of collective giving have meant and accomplished.  Sara is a long-time member of a giving circle; created the Latino Giving Circle Network, the largest of its kind in the US; and now serves as the Executive Director of Philanthropy Together. Philanthropy Together is a global initiative, co-created by hundreds of giving circles and collective giving networks, including Philanos, to help start new giving circles and help existing giving circles thrive.  Sara and her team are tasked with democratizing and diversifying philanthropy.  

The Spotlight Awards

The Spotlight Award is our opportunity to highlight how Philanos affiliates are strengthening the collective giving movement through grantmaking. The Spotlight Awards celebrate women-powered philanthropic efforts, highlighting grants that demonstrate the multiplier effect of impact investing in community nonprofits. These awards recognize grants that have done one or more of these: transformed the grantee, transformed the affiliate itself, and/or transformed the community. Today we admire and celebrate these impactful grants that represent a slice of the grantmaking being done throughout the country.  Each awardee or affiliate, will receive $500 to be used to support the affiliate or it can be passed through to the grantee. Additionally, the affiliates honored will receive national exposure on all Philanos communication platforms.

Spotlight Award Recipients

Impact100 Metro Denver 
Fresh Food Connect 

In 2016, a group of forward-thinkers from three Denver organizations came together to present a new idea that would become Fresh Food Connect. The concept presented initially was a pilot project to facilitate donation of home-grown food from backyard and community gardeners to local hunger relief organizations.  Using the funds from Impact100 Metro Denver, Fresh Food Connect began in one zip code in Denver.  Now, the organization is working coast to coast, in over 1500+ zip codes with 50 operating local partners. This tremendous growth resulted with the transition from a web-based program to mobile app technology in early 2020 licensed to various local hunger relief efforts; linking community “volunteers” that share their garden abundance.  The focus for Fresh Food Connect is to provide access to more healthy foods, reduce food insecurity, and eliminate fresh food deserts by allowing excess foods from gardens to be shared through local food banks and other organizations focused on feeding the community.

Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis
Changemaker Grant - Trinity Haven  

Trinity Haven’s mission is to provide safe, affirming housing for LGBTQ youth experiencing housing instability. In April of 2021, during the pandemic, Trinity Haven celebrated the grand opening of a home funded in part by Impact 100 Indianapolis’ grant. The grant was transformational for the giving circle and the community because it was their first grant focused on the needs of the LGBTQ community and Trinity Haven is Indiana’s first residential and host homes program addressing the needs of LGBTQ young people who are at risk for homelessness.  Trinity Haven addresses the needs of LGBTQ youth through two programs--the Transitional Living Program at the newly opened home and the Host Homes Program in the homes of volunteer hosts.  The Impact 100 Indianapolis grant funded part of the reconstruction of the home for the Transitional Living Program and the Host Homes Program in the homes of volunteer hosts.  The members of Impact 100 learned about the unique and daunting challenges facing this underserved community.  Additionally, these lessons helped to inform other diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives of Impact 100 Indianapolis. 

Impact 100 Richmond
Neighborhood Catalyst Grant - Fulton's Neighborhood Resource Center 


Their innovative Neighborhood Catalyst Grant was awarded in 2018. This grant provides $25,000 for four years in one geographic region in order to make real change in a single neighborhood. Impact Richmond provides the dollars, but a Neighborhood Advisory Committee composed of women who live in the community, determine how the grants funds are allocated. By transferring decision making power to the neighborhood, Impact Richmond is assured of an inclusive and authentic partnership. Impact Richmond has made a commitment to trust based philanthropy by trusting the women to know what their neighborhood needs. The neighborhood selected is called Greater Fulton. This area of the city was ravaged in the 1970’s as a result of urban renewal programs. Many buildings were destroyed, and residents displaced. The committee is making funding decisions that target projects focused on honoring the past as well as investing in the future. For example, grants were awarded to a community park that tells the story of Historic Fulton and honors the lives and families who were forced from their homes. Empowering the community to come together on their own terms began the process of healing old wounds in the neighborhood. The Neighborhood Advisory Committee was also able to quickly respond to community needs during Covid by directing significant funds for Covid relief.  As the organization describes the Neighborhood Catalyst Grant, “at its core, it is based on the principles of trust, love and self-determination.”

The Willoughby Award

Colleen Willoughby challenged the status quo of traditional philanthropy 25 years ago when she found it deeply troubling that women did not have an organized vehicle for using their own money — and they controlled plenty of it — to invest in their communities in ways that reflected the issues they cared about, and in ways that also reflected their collaborative style of leadership. 

Colleen's idea of collective giving grantmaking changed the face of philanthropy forever, not just in Seattle where it began with Washington Women’s Foundation, but across the country and the world. She inspired and mentored groups in New York, Boise, Ketchum, San Diego, Roanoke, Jacksonville, St Louis, Minneapolis, Austin, and Charlotte, and as far away as Shanghai and Melbourne.  She expanded the movement in 2009 by establishing Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network (WCGN), now Philanos.

The Inaugural Willoughby Award Recipient - Kyle Ruffin of Impact100 South Jersey

Kyle’s philanthropic experience with many nonprofit organizations left her “othered and tokenized” as a black woman in the white philanthropy world. Over time however, she found her voice and became empowered to speak up. She recently initiated and led a program to showcase other women and people of color to tell their story about why they are already giving.  Using her background in storytelling, she helps people tell their own stories which helps others recognize the vital role people of color already play in philanthropy and volunteerism. She is a champion of partnership over integration when it comes to increasing the impact giving back can have on a community. 

Kyle Ruffin

Kyle with Judy Greenberg
Impact100 South Jersey President

"It was such an incredible honor to receive the first Willoughby Award.  The ceremony and program were so touching and inspiring.  LOVED Sara Lomelin’s words of wisdom.  The award itself is gorgeous, and the competition was amazing.  I still can’t believe I was selected.  

Philanos has been a valuable partner to us at Impact100 South Jersey as we continue to learn how to navigate the complexities of collective giving.  Several of us attended the Philly conference and got soooo much out of it!  We often say that our model is simple, but managing it requires dedication and commitment from lots of women willing to devote significant time, talent and treasure.  We are fortunate to have Philanos and it’s members to learn from and grow with."
Kyle Ruffin

"I am humbled to have my name on this award (The Willoughby), and I am thrilled to honor and congratulate, Kyle Ruffin, this year's first awardee!! All of our Network members celebrate your selection to receive this inaugural award.

Together, we have Transformed, and raised the bar on women as active, engaged philanthropists, and your (Kyle's) recognition is further inspiration for our movement, to grow, to expand, and to be a significant force in all of our communities.  I add my congratulations.

I salute you and wish you continued success as a confident philanthropist and Changemaker in your community  Three cheers!!"
Colleen Willoughby


Contact Philanos  info@philanos.org

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