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  • Thursday, March 03, 2022 11:38 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Gillian Hund OAM, Patricia Burke OAM (Co-Founders) &
    Christine Darcas (Executive Officer) of 
    Melbourne Women's Fund

    MWF enables members to be part of informed, democratized giving where their power is amplified through the collective benefit they provide to vulnerable women and families in Melbourne.

    We recently spoke to Patricia, Christine and Gillian to hear their thoughts on their current efforts!

    What’s the most interesting effort your circle is focusing on right now?

    Re-energizing and reconnecting the members and supporters of our Melbourne Women’s Fund community after living in the most locked-down city in the world over 2020 and 2021. Although we survived those two years reasonably well, it required an agile, yet time-consuming, reorientation in our approach that couldn’t entirely compensate for the joy and satisfaction our members value from in-person socializing and networking. We are now re-directing our efforts to provide those opportunities, which is exciting and liberating!

    What is something your circle is currently challenged by?

    Sustaining the caliber of our management. The term ‘Giving Circle’ can sound simplistic and belie the complexity involved in keeping a 100% volunteer-led organization running smoothly across areas that include an informed and collaborative grants process, marketing, events, governance, financial management, membership engagement, Next Gen and partnership/sponsorship—all underpinned by a solid three-year strategic plan. We’ve been very fortunate in having a devoted team. But life can get in the way for any of us, so we have to stay on the lookout for potential compatible volunteers and do what we can to keep them.

    What Philanos resource has been most helpful to you this year, and why?

    There isn’t one resource. Overall, it is great to know that Philanos is there to turn to. Even though we’re on the other side of the world, the Philanos webinars during Covid were just as relevant for us. Its reservoir of giving circle-related research is useful as well. We look forward to being able to attend the next conference (the strategic planning session at the 2020 conference was a game-changer for us in particular). You’ll be seeing us again!

  • Friday, February 11, 2022 1:42 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Bridget Dunn
    The Philanthropy Connection

    TPC inspires and enables a community of women to learn, grow, and engage in collective giving to support nonprofit organizations that address systemic inequities impacting individuals and families within the greater Boston area.

    We recently spoke to Bridget and invited her thoughts on their current efforts!

    What’s the most interesting effort your circle is focusing on right now?

    In 2021, TPC rolled out a new four-tier membership investment structure. This updated membership framework creates a new membership entry point at $300 and allows all members to choose the contribution level most comfortable for their financial situation. All members receive the same privileges and voting rights, and are equally welcome to participate in our programming and grant making processes. In less than a year this new structure has resulted in a higher number of total members and several lapsed members rejoining. TPC is working to become a more equitable, inclusive organization and this new membership structure allows us to live those values.

    What is something your circle is currently challenged by?

    TPC is seeking to incorporate the principles of Trust-Based Philanthropy (TBP) in our grant making. This has required re-thinking some of our grant making processes and challenging ourselves to incorporate new ideas. Some tangible changes we have made towards this end have included:

    • Changing all grants to be unrestricted funds
    • Completely rewriting our application and rubric to emphasize principles of TBP and reduce the burden on applicants
    • Allowing applicants to submit applications they wrote for other opportunities
    • Waiving grantee reporting requirements and strengthening our liaison program to communicate with grantees in a less demanding way

    The work is not yet done and we are continuing to look inward as an organization and have hard conversations about how we can better exemplify the values of TBP.

    What Philanos resource has been most helpful to you this year, and why?

    We found the Philanos chat boards to be very beneficial as we’ve researched and incorporated these changes. We were able to gain valuable insights about how other groups have structured their memberships and went on to meet with leaders from those groups in very helpful and informative sessions. Additionally, as we explored opportunities for offering multi-year grants, participants in the chat forums offered us valuable insights into how their group accomplished this and led to several excellent 1:1 conversations. We are always grateful for the willingness of other Philanos organizations to share their wisdom and insights with us.

  • Friday, January 21, 2022 10:16 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Beverly, Diane, Mary, & Susan
    Co-Chairs of Greenville Women Giving

    GWG works collectively to identify and fund nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts, education, environment, health and human services in Greenville County, SC.

    We recently spoke to Susan Cinquemani, Mary Hipp, Diane Perlmutter, and Beverly Ward, GWG Co-chairs and invited their thoughts on their current efforts!

    What’s the most interesting effort your circle is focusing on right now?

    One of the areas of our focus right now is our membership and membership committee. As our membership grew to over 500, we realized the need for a more dedicated effort in the areas of both new member growth/recruitment and current member engagement. Both areas require time and different approaches. After brainstorming and discussions, we decided to split our membership committee into two committees: Membership Engagement and Membership Growth.  Each committee has its own unique leadership, members, and duties. This year, beginning September 2021, is our first year with this two membership committee structure.

    What is something your circle is currently challenged by?

    Our biggest challenge is managing the ever-changing Covid situation.  We responded quickly in March 2020, moving to virtual events for our education sessions, grant selection, and annual meeting. In Fall 2021, we held successful hybrid events. It continues to take significant time for our leadership team as we are currently modifying plans based on Omicron's impact.

    What Philanos resource has been most helpful to you this year, and why?

    The availability of webinars for the GWG board and membership has been the most helpful Philanos resource.

  • Tuesday, January 04, 2022 1:02 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    We are excited for 2022! 

    5 ways Philanos Affiliates can learn, share and engage:

    1. Philanos Learning: We have numerous, regular virtual gatherings planned for affiliates to learn together, including our monthly webinars and Affiliate Comms Club gatherings – mark your calendar!

    2. Philanos Sharing: We invite you to share your latest news, ask and/or answer questions in the Member Forums, and let us know about your recent media mentions – send us your latest news so we can promote it and engage with your colleagues!

    3. Philanos Leadership: We encourage you to get further involved in Philanos through committee and/or Board leadership. We are only as strong as the individual affiliates that support our sustainability and growth – we need you!

    4. Philanos Celebration: We are honored to celebrate our individual affiliate and collective network successes through the Willoughby and Spotlight  Awards this fall – nominate the women and grants that have made an impact!

    5. Philanos Partnership: We are excited to strengthen and grow our partnerships with and among our network partners, and other collective giving and philanthropic networks for the benefit of our organization and individual affiliates – we are stronger together!

    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 2022.

  • Friday, December 17, 2021 11:40 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Elaine McCormick
    Chairwoman of Impact 100 Richmond, Virginia

    Impact 100 Richmond is committed to creating positive change in Metro Richmond through high-impact, life-long, transformational grantmaking.

    We recently spoke to Elaine and invited her thoughts on their current efforts!

    What’s the most interesting effort your circle is focusing on right now?

    Every 5-6 years we form a Strategic Planning Committee to help us evaluate our strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. This committee tackles some pretty big issues that our giving circle has neither the time nor resources to address during the everyday running of Impact 100. The goal is to look at our organization objectively and strategically to determine if we are still operating under our initial mission, whether our goals and/or objectives have shifted over time, and whether changes are needed to set us up for success over the next 5-6 years.

    What is something your circle is currently challenged by?

    We work closely with our local Community Foundation, who is our fiscal sponsor. When changes happen within their organization they affect us directly, and this year we had to migrate to a new website and database and adapt to staffing changes at the Community Foundation, all while kicking off our giving season!  It was a steep learning curve, but everyone came together and we launched our campaign with only minor delays. In the long run, the new system will provide us with more information about our donors and help us become better fundraisers for our local nonprofits.

    What Philanos resource has been most helpful to you this year, and why?

    The monthly webinars are wonderful!  It is so helpful to hear how other circles are dealing with the same issues that we are grappling with.

  • Monday, December 13, 2021 8:36 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    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:

    1. Philanos Affiliate Membership Growth – 75+ affiliate members collectively learning and sharing to strengthen our network.

    2. Philanos Affiliate Collective Giving Growth –  Our 75+ affiliates have collectively given over $175M.

    3. Philanos Leadership Growth – 6 new Board members helping to lead and grow our organization for the future.

    4. Philanos Network Partnership Growth – 3 networks in order to continue to learn, share, organize, and connect the broader collective giving field.

    5. 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.

    6. Philanos Collective Learning – 8 webinars that focused on membership, communication, governance, and grantmaking and that had an overall attendance of 600+.

    7. Philanos Collective Sharing – 4 Comms Club gatherings that encouraged learning and sharing among those interested in all things communications.

    8. 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. 

    9. Philanos Communities of Practice – 13 Philanos affiliates participated in our 3 DEI Affinity Groups.

    10. 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.

  • Friday, December 03, 2021 9:51 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    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.

  • Tuesday, November 23, 2021 7:17 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    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 and we will make that happen!  

    Nominations Are Open for National Positions!

    Philanos Board of Directors

    Governance Committee

    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 (descriptionmanages 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.

  • Thursday, November 18, 2021 6:10 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    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!

    What’s the most interesting effort your circle is focusing on right now?

    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.

    What is something your circle is currently challenged by?

    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.

    What Philanos resource has been most helpful to you this year, and why?

    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!

  • Thursday, October 28, 2021 1:17 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Clare O'Brien
    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:

    • Kef Kasdin, Board Chair, Rachel’s Network and Rachel’s Action Network
    • Maria Kolby-Wolfe, President and CEO, Washington Women’s Foundation

    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

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