Philanos 2021 – Year in Review
It’s been a challenging year as we continue to be affected by the global pandemic, racial and social injustice, and political upheaval. And, it’s been a successful year for our individual giving circles and our collective giving movement as we’ve attempted to address and support these and other issues in our local communities, and together as a cohesive network.
Here are highlights of our collective efforts this year:
Philanos Affiliate Membership Growth – 75+ affiliate members collectively learning and sharing to strengthen our network.
Philanos Affiliate Collective Giving Growth – Our 75+ affiliates have collectively given over $175M.
Philanos Leadership Growth – 6 new Board members helping to lead and grow our organization for the future.
Philanos Network Partnership Growth – 3 networks in order to continue to learn, share, organize, and connect the broader collective giving field.
Philanos Collective Communicating – growth of the Philanos marketing and communications efforts, including our strong social media platform to highlight the good work of Philanos, our affiliate members, partners, the collective giving movement, and philanthropy overall.
Philanos Collective Learning – 8 webinars that focused on membership, communication, governance, and grantmaking and that had an overall attendance of 600+.
Philanos Collective Sharing – 4 Comms Club gatherings that encouraged learning and sharing among those interested in all things communications.
Philanos Collective Celebrating – We continued to celebrate the groundbreaking work of Colleen S. Willoughby and the inspiration she has brought to so many women and philanthropists through our inaugural Willoughby Award and Spotlight Award recipients.
Philanos Communities of Practice – 13 Philanos affiliates participated in our 3 DEI Affinity Groups.
Philanos and Philanthropy Together – Numerous Philanos affiliates have participated in Philanthropy Together efforts, including the PhT Global We Give Summit, Racial Equity Community of Practice, Storytelling Community of Practice, and Launchpad Start-up Groups.
We look forward to continued learning, sharing, celebrating, partnership and growth as we focus on building and supporting the women’s collective giving movement.
Have something to add? Let us know! Email us with any other thoughts about Philanos in 2021.
Martha Cukor and Susan Perl
The Baltimore Women's Giving Circle
Through collective giving and collaboration, BWGC seeks to empower women and their families in the greater Baltimore area to achieve self-sufficiency.
We recently spoke to Martha and Susan and invited their thoughts on their current efforts!
What’s the most interesting effort your circle is focusing on right now?
This is very hard to answer because we have so many things going on simultaneously. Because we have to name only one project, it would be the real effort the Membership Committee is making to learn from other Giving Circles and other organizations how to attract younger members. The committee has come up with lots of ideas, some seemingly obvious directions in which to go, others which will take more serious discussion and investigation. This is an endeavor in which we must succeed, or we will not exist in the future.
What is something your circle is currently challenged by?
As with many giving circles and organizations across the country, the BWGC has been investigating issues around racial diversity, equity, and inclusion. The circle and the committee are challenged by how best to proceed and has tried to learn from other organizations. Start with a small group and then include the rest of the circle? Come to conclusions in the committee and present ideas for a vote, or include the entire circle in the full process? What does education look like for the circle? These are just some of the challenges.
What Philanos resource has been most helpful to you this year, and why?
The webinars are the most helpful to the Circle Co-Chairs, while at least one affinity group is helpful to a committee, with more expected in the near future.
Side note: We at the BWGC find Philanos tremendously helpful for our work, and we thank you for all you do.
We are stronger together!
Philanos is at its best when it reflects the diverse voices of women committed to collaborating with others nationally to further the collective giving movement. With sister organizations throughout the United States, Australia and Europe, together we are impacting communities for the better.
Please consider joining our virtual team. Participating provides excellent opportunities for networking and utilizing your leadership skills. We have positions open on committees and the Board of Directors. Please refer to the various board job descriptions and criteria. Want to talk to someone about the experience? Email email@example.com and we will make that happen!
Nominations Are Open for National Positions!
Philanos Board of Directors
Submission Deadline: Friday, February 4, 2022
Affiliate Engagement and Expansion Committee - AE&E (description) identifies prospective affiliates, welcomes new affiliates, and works to share affiliate needs within our organization. Questions?
Communications Committee (description) manages the overall marketing and communications for the organization. It is a great place to meet and work with women across the country. We are looking for variety in voices and experiences so we can reflect everyone in the network.
Education Committee (description) is responsible for producing all of our webinars. Help us keep up with the trends in collective giving and providing the education our affiliates seek.
Mary Kwak of Many Hands
Many Hands is a women’s grantmaking organization committed to making a lasting impact on the lives of Washington, DC area women, children, and families in socioeconomic need and to helping its members become well-informed donors.
We recently spoke to Mary Kwak and invited her thoughts on their current efforts!
This fall we are launching a members-only racial equity learning series that has been more than a year in the making. The series is designed to center active, collaborative learning so that together members can build an understanding of what we mean by racism and racial equity, how racism and racial equity relate to our work at Many Hands, and what we can and want to do about it. Since everyone will be a learner and teacher, we don’t know what the outcome will be--which is a little scary but also very exciting.
One of our biggest challenges is managing growth. Over the past five years, our grant pool has grown by more than 70% and with it, the complexity and amount of the work it takes to get each year’s grants out the door. We’ve invested in donor and grant management systems, we’ve expanded the board by two-thirds, we’ve created non-board committees, and still, as an all-volunteer organization, we feel stretched thin. We are currently engaged in strategic planning, and sustainability is a major theme.
We’ve been fortunate to participate in two DEI affinity groups--one focusing on membership and organizational strategies and the other on grantmaking--that have created unique opportunities for learning and cross-pollination of ideas. Most of the resources available for guiding work around racial equity and DEI target very different types of organizations, so connecting with other Philanos affiliates has been incredibly valuable. We get to learn what other giving circles are thinking and doing and to share and test out ideas. As a bonus, it’s a great way to meet even more women who are passionate about collective giving!
Philanos Board and Education Committee Member
On Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 9:00 AM Pacific/12:00 PM Eastern Philanos will host our November Webinar, Environmental Justice – The Journey to Action. I hope you will join us as we explore the interconnected relationship between DEI work and environmental action.
Our featured speakers will share their personal and organizational journeys to embracing environmental justice and how protecting the most vulnerable communities benefits us all:
They will also share practical guidance and a curated resource list to help giving circles champion this critical, urgent work to safeguard all people and our shared planet. You can find the resources in advance of the webinar below.
Please Register by Sunday, November 7! Your unique link to join this webinar is emailed separately.
Environmental Justice Articles & Reports
Environmental Justice Books
Environmental Justice Organization Resources
Virginia Mills and Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
Philanos Marketing and Communications Committee Co-Chairs
Philanos strives to amplify your collective voices and your important work. We want to share with you all the ways we are communicating your stories to larger audiences, and how your involvement can help us spread the word!
How are we doing this? Through the Philanos Marketing and Communications Committee. We manage the overall marketing and communications for the organization, and communicate regularly about the good work of Philanos affiliates - to our network and beyond through our numerous marketing and communication vehicles.
Why are we doing this? We are promoting Philanos’ efforts and those of our affiliates to support and encourage the growth and sustainability of our individual affiliates, the advancement of the women’s collective giving movement, and the trends in the philanthropic sector.
Here’s five ways we are regularly communicating about Philanos and our affiliates:
Here’s five ways that you can help us spread the word about your efforts:
Here’s some thoughts on how you can get more involved with us:
We look forward to hearing from you so we can continually amplify your voice and promote your good work!
Wow – what an event! Thank you to the 100+ attendees of our virtual Award Ceremony where we announced our inaugural Willoughby Award recipient, Kyle Ruffin of Impact100 South Jersey, and our Spotlight Award winners Impact100 Metro Denver, Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis and Impact 100 Richmond.
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. We admire and celebrate these impactful grants that represent a slice of the grantmaking being done throughout the country:
Impact100 Metro Denver
for their 2018 Change Maker Grant to Trinity Haven to provide safe, affirming housing for LGBTQ youth experiencing housing instability.
for their innovative, Trust-Based Philanthropy-focused Neighborhood Catalyst Grant provided to the Fulton neighborhood, for community leaders to decide where the money would be utilized.
The Willoughby Award is in honor of Colleen S. Willoughby, the founder of both the Washington Women's Foundation, and Philanos. This inaugural award is honoring Kyle Ruffin as a visionary leader in philanthropy who, like Colleen, has taken the field into exciting, new directions:
Impact100 South Jersey: Kyle’s experience has inspired her to be a visionary leader in philanthropy beyond her affiliate and has received a $1,000 prize that she will have donated in her name to the nonprofit of her choice. 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.
“We gave these awards because it is a meaningful way to elevate the voices, stories, and important work being done in the field by Philanos affiliates and women leaders on behalf of us all in the growing collective giving movement” said Susan Benford, Philanos Chair. “Congratulations to these wonderful women, their giving circles, and their grantee partners for their community impact.”
We were inspired and moved by the wonderful opening words of Sara Lomelin, Executive Director of Philanthropy Together, who helped us celebrate these special award winners live and inspire us on how far forward the movement has gone. Philanthropy Together was created by many giving circles, to diversify and democratize philanthropy and we are proud to partner to strengthen the field.
Thanks to all those who joined us to honor these amazing women and affiliates among us who are part of our growing network, and are helping to elevate all of our work every day!
Kelly Walsh of Impact 100 Metro Detroit
Impact100 Metro Detroit's mission is to fuel transformation in Metro Detroit by uniting women through collective giving to support local nonprofit heroes and award high impact grants.
We recently spoke to Kelly Walsh, President of Impact100 Metro Detroit and invited her thoughts on their current efforts!
We're taking a strategic look at our calendar - moving the grant application window earlier to allow for more committee review. Our board is also discussing a shift of membership calendar to be aligned with our "Big Give" award event. (Our membership currently closes Dec. 31st with the award event late May. The shift would consider membership closing in April with the event in May).
Brand building and communication - we're constantly working to find the right communication cadence for both members and prospects. There are 3 Impact groups in our region - which is awesome, but can be a challenge for women to understand the differentiators of each group.
We're new to Philanos, but have found the online resources and the connection to a large network of like-minded organizations to be wonderful.
Bronwyn Belling and Linda Eggbeer of Anne Arundel Women Giving Together [AAWGT]
AAWGT is working to improve the quality of life for women and families in Anne Arundel County, Maryland
We recently spoke to Bronwyn Belling and Linda Eggbeer - who are both past presidents and who currently help lead their Web/IT and Marketing and Communications efforts - and invited their thoughts on their current work - take a look!
We’re working hard to simplify and improve our entire grants process by carefully considering the many things we’ve learned over the past year. We’re using ideas generated by this year’s grant reviewers and our Racial Equity Study Group as well as thinking through the best practices other giving circles and the philanthropic community are employing. While we’re still in the iterative stage, it is a process that is stretching us. We expect it to yield positive results for our grant recipients and for AAWGT, an organization deeply committed to continuous improvement.
AAWGT’s Racial Equity Study Group, which has met monthly since January 2019, recommended this spring that a DEI Committee be created to conduct a comprehensive examination of the way the organization functions with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Due to COVID and the time and care we took in assembling the diverse group that we did, we finally were able to convene our first in-person meeting last week. The conversation made clear that there are a range of viewpoints about how we should go forward, including what we should focus on first. This is challenging but not surprising as we work to create and implement a plan that will serve our organization well.
We’ve used a number of resources including Philanos’ excellent webinars that are offered throughout the year, the website (particularly DEI in Action), the Comms Club, and direct connections to other giving circles facilitated through Philanos.
Jennifer Bennett, Impact San Antonio
Impact San Antonio brings women together to provide substantial grants to nonprofit organizations in the Greater San Antonio community through the power of collective philanthropy.
We recently spoke to Jennifer Bennett, President of Impact San Antonio and invited her thoughts on their current efforts!
One of our goals is to educate our membership on the needs in our community and to do it in partnership with other like-minded local organizations. We recently connected with an organization of women of color and are brainstorming topics. We plan to offer the program to the broader community, not just our membership. We hope to spark more action in tackling problems, while also increasing awareness of our organization and encouraging greater diversity of our membership.
We recently reviewed our conflicts of interest policies relating to agency interactions. Through robust debate on options and their implications, our board found a balance to achieving fairness and objectivity, while avoiding unintended consequences. We recognized that too strict a policy would exclude women from serving on our board who serve in executive roles on local nonprofit boards or who work at those agencies. We want experience like that because it will help us improve how we operate and our decision-making.
The “We Give Summit” in May was a tremendous resource for great ideas and best practices being used by other women’s giving circles that we could apply to our organization. One terrific aspect of my experience was being a presenter with 2 other wonderful ladies on how to grow membership in a pandemic. Through our collaboration I learned about some of their successful approaches that we plan to implement to enhance our member retention and acquisition results.
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