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  • Tuesday, July 05, 2022 7:16 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    By Rebekah Bonde
    Philanos Board Treasurer
    Washington Women’s Foundation

    In 1998, I sat in the congregation of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, listening to a Sunday morning 'Moment for Mission'. Two women shared of their experience in a collective giving group and how they were learning an intentional modality of grant making that was changing how they viewed philanthropy. I was transfixed. It was one of those rare moments that etched in my brain because it felt immediately significant, and I noted three things: 

    1. The buy-in was $1,000, which was more than my monthly rent as a 27-year-old in the nascent stages of her career.
    2. What would it take to participate in this level of giving; and
    3. Who in the world is Colleen Willoughby?

    18 years later, I am in Colleen's kitchen pulling out things to make an impromptu cheese and cracker platter at her direction and talking about scarves and Gen-X giving patterns.

    I could spend the next several minutes itemizing Colleen's many accomplishments at Washington Women's, the Evans School at UW, or even the fact she has a Wikipedia entry. But I'd rather tell you about how her work directly changed me even though she had no idea who I was until I joined the Philanos Board (née WCGN) in 2015.  

    After my husband and I moved from Seattle to Austin, TX, a neighbor introduced me to Impact Austin as a way to use my professional skill set in a meaningfully volunteer manner and to meet other women seeking to make an impact in their community.  I joined and attended my first WCGN conference in 2012 when Kathy LeMay spoke, and she asked us to write an audacious goal on a piece of paper that we had to fulfill within one year.  It was always my worst fear to be called upon in public, and since I'll probably never have to do it…I wrote down "speak in public about philanthropy."

    I saw Colleen at that conference and oh-so vaguely remembered something about Washington Women's.  Colleen spoke about the genesis of WaWF, about how important it was for women to give philanthropically in their own name, and why she chose $1,000 - the level at which you first get your name printed in a charity's list of donors.  And then the memory of the 'Moment for Mission' came flooding back, and I had to pinch myself: "I can't believe I'm here."

    Within 12 months of that conference, I was (very nervously) giving my first talk, standing up and being called on by name. I made my first donation as ME, not "the wife of…" And I found a calling that has elevated not only my voice and my financial impact, but more importantly my sense of self. I never, ever thought I would chair a Board of Directors, or sit on a panel of city leaders as an Impact Austin representative or write for a national publication on behalf of Philanos. Yes, all this because of the women's collective giving movement because Colleen started a movement. How ironic that when we all come to the collective we meet ourselves front and center, sometimes for the first time.

    Since that first conference, I've spoken at several Philanos conferences, captained a boat race, ran to meet a political idol, and aggressively shook her hand on a street corner in Washington DC, stood up and said more at work, and even orated to a large group of Presbyterians when selected as my church's 'Woman of the Month'.  I think about the 27-year-old women who were in the audience that day, looking at me and wondering, "What would it take…". 

    Most of us start in the audience, and now we are in front talking to the next generation of women.  We are the leaders of today so we can model leadership for tomorrow. And let me tell you, you never know who is listening. It's probably someone you've never met and never will, until…

    Thank you, Colleen.

    Watch the 2020 PowerUP! slideshow tribute to Colleen!

  • Tuesday, July 05, 2022 4:15 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Philanos July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 Board of Directors

    Susan Benford, Chair, member of The Philanthropy Connection (Boston, MA) and Impact100 Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)

    Margaret (Maggie) Glasgow, Chair-elect, member of Greenville Women Giving, (Greenville, SC)

    Ellan Bernstein, Secretary and Education Co-chair, member of Impact100 Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)

    Rebekah Bonde, Treasurer, member of Washington Women’s Foundation (Seattle, WA)

    Deepika Andavarapu, member of Impact 100 Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)

    Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Communications Chair, member of Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County (Columbia, MD)

    Amy Conard, Technology Chair, member of Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund (St. Louis, MO)

    Sandra (Sandy) Cook, Affiliate Engagement Chair, member of Impact100 Metro Denver (Denver, CO)

    Stephanie Cook, member of San Diego Women’s Foundation (San Diego, CA)

    Heather Jauregui, member of Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation (Boise, ID)

    Deborah Majewski, Education Co-chair, member of Women’s Impact Fund (Charlotte, NC)

    Ann Marie McGee, Communications Vice Chair, member of Impact 100 Redwood Circle (Santa Rosa, CA)

    Clare O’Brien, member of Impact 100 Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)

    Paula Perkins, Governance Chair, member of Impact100 Wichita Falls (Wichita Falls, TX)

  • Tuesday, July 05, 2022 3:50 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    June 30, 2022 6 board members retired after years of Philanos service.  Several were founding board members who have exceeded their service both in term limits and development of the Philanos Network.

    Colleen Willoughby 
    Washington Women’s Foundation, Seattle, WA

    Colleen Willoughby is a force for women’s leadership development and their engagement in civic life.  It began early.  Visiting Washington, DC as a high schooler and sitting in the seat of the first ever female US Senator Margaret Chase Smith during Girls Nation, Colleen had an epiphany which has been her North star.  Like the Senator, she inherently believed in effective civic leadership and respect for women’s roles in our civil society. She has dedicated much of her life to creating opportunity for women to learn, participate and to continue their leadership development.  Read more

    Laura Midgley 
    Washington Women’s Foundation, Seattle, WA 
    Wood River Women’s Foundation, Kechum, ID

    Laura served as the founding board chair of Philanos (then called WCGN) from 2013 to 2015. She’s an active member of two Philanos affiliates, the Wood River Women’s Foundation in Ketchum, ID (since 2014) and Washington Women’s Foundation in Seattle (since 2002), where she was a WaWF director for nine years and served in numerous leadership roles. She proudly co-chaired PowerUP! The Spark That Ignites Change, Philanos’ national conference in February 2020 for 370 leaders who convened in Seattle to advance their understanding and commitment to equitable grantmaking and inclusivity in our organizations. She led securing nearly $200,000 in grants, major gifts and earned revenue for the network that still contributes to its sustainability today. Read more

    Virginia Mills 
    GIVING WoMN, Minneapolis, MN

    Virginia is a founding board member of Philanos (formerly WCGN) and served as the second board chair of Philanos, from 2015-2017. She is a member of GIVING WoMN in Minneapolis, MN and past member of both The Philanthropy Connection and Womenade Boston, MA.

    When asked how she came to this network, Virginia tells of a “completely freaky” set of circumstances that led her to this board, but those who have known her well would reply that this was no coincidence.  In 2009 she had just joined the GIVING WoMN Board in Minneapolis as a co-chair of marketing.  Her fellow co-chair told her, “We can go to this event in Boise and meet some other women leaders of like groups,” and Virginia agreed.  When her travel partner got ill and couldn’t attend, Virginia showed up alone to a meeting where she knew no one.  She met Vicki Sheehan from St. Louis in the hotel restaurant, who took her under her wing and introduced her to the group of women that would become the founders of WCGN (Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network), now Philanos.  Read more

    Avani Desai 
    100 Women Strong, Orlando FL

    Avani credits Paula Liang, past Chair of Philanos, for bringing her onto our national board.  Avani was, at that time, President of her affiliate, 100 Women Strong in Orlando, FL, when Paula engaged with her around the planning of the national WCGN conference in Jacksonville in 2017.  She was recruited to the board to assist with technology, social media and building a partnership for DEI work among their affiliates. Read more

    Karen Holly
    Impact 100 Indianapolis, IN

    Karen Holly, like retiring board member Avani, has also served for two terms (six years) on the Philanos Board – beginning when it was still the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network (WCGN).  Karen is a past president of her affiliate, Impact 100 Indianapolis, where she demonstrated a real heart for membership as their membership chair.  Read more

    Gwen Wesley 
    Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund, MO

    Gwen came to the Philanos Board, and the Board went to her because of her expertise in strategic planning.  Founder Vicki Sheehan was instrumental in this match, and they both are members of Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund.  Gwen came on the board in 2019 to craft a strategic plan during a period of rebranding and renewal, and six months into her work, the pandemic hit. Read more
  • Thursday, June 23, 2022 12:10 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Philanos Chair, Susan Benford was a guest on IMPACTability™: The Nonprofit Leaders’ Podcast – The Collective Giving Movement, powered by Soukup Strategic Solutions.

    During this podcast Susan was asked, What is collective giving, and how could it benefit your nonprofit? How does a group start a giving circle?

    Susan also shared how giving circles can leverage individuals’ small donations into a large, significant gift.

    Lots of nonprofits are curious about giving circles. Listen to Susan’s practical insights in this podcast.

  • Thursday, May 19, 2022 9:34 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Eliza Rossman of ALLINBKLYN

    ALLINBKLYN is a community of women committed to philanthropy in Brooklyn. We pool our dollars and make thoughtful grants to organizations that are strengthening our borough. All nonprofits in service to the people and places of Brooklyn are eligible for consideration.

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

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

     We're always working on something interesting... But right now the effort that has my attention in particular is our focus on creating a viable infrastructure so that Allinbklyn can continue to work in service to Brooklyn way into the future! That means engaging as many members as possible to make the engine run - so far so good!

    What is something your circle is currently challenged by?

     A constant challenge for us is figuring out the best way to meet the vast need in Brooklyn with our limited funds. We are always challenged to determine how best to direct our dollars for the greatest impact. This borough is the fourth largest "city" in the country and only receives 5% of all philanthropic dollars raised in New York. Meeting that challenge realistically, given who we are and how we operate, is top of mind.

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

     In past years, the Philanos conferences and virtual meetings have been very helpful. This year, given all the internal work we're doing to solidify our infrastructure, Philanos has been an especially helpful and practical resource for us. For instance, when we needed information on databases, they connected us to giving circles that could answer our specific questions. This saved us valuable research time enabling us to get solid information quickly.

  • Wednesday, May 04, 2022 8:20 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    by Exponent Philanthropy
    April 22, 2022

    Sandy Cook, Philanos Affiliate Engagement & Expansion Chair, a leader at Impact100 Metro Denver and a founding member of the Women’s Giving Alliance of Northeast Florida, joined Exponent Philanthropy's Catalytic Podcast to share her thoughts on, "How Can We Support Transformation at Your Organization?"

    Creative, high-impact philanthropy is practiced by donors of all types - foundations, donor advised funds, social venture funders, and collective giving organizations.

    Find out why Impact100 Metro Denver invites nonprofits to step back and consider what they need to make significant shifts in how they work. Sandy shares examples of how investing in nonprofits' unglamorous infrastructure needs, such as redesigning space, and buying trucks and equipment, helps organizations achieve exponentially more impact.  

    The Catalytic Philanthropy Podcast - A Women’s Collective Giving Group Asks Nonprofits, “How Can We Support Transformation at Your Organization?” Listen to the podcast:  Part 1 | Part 2

  • Monday, April 25, 2022 1:03 PM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    By Maggie Glasgow
    Philanos Chair-elect

    Many giving circles are created by and/or reside within a foundation – a community foundation, a woman’s foundation, a private foundation, or some other regional or national foundation.  The reasons are many, and the benefits can be mutually rewarding.  Circles who have been in longstanding relationships with their foundation offer the following reasons to affiliate:

    • No legal expense to create separate legal standing as a 501 (c) 3.
    • No accounting expense for separate financial audits.
    • No need to obtain separate insurance, especially liability for events.
    • Back-office support, from invoicing to member databases to grants, is available (even if you pay a fee) freeing you up to work on impact.
    • Foundation can professionally manage your assets, especially if you have an endowment or money held over time.
    • Foundation staff are knowledgeable about the philanthropic landscape in your community with wisdom to share.
    • Foundation may have other funds or funders who can and will collaborate with you.
    • Reputation of the foundation rubs off on you.
    • If the foundation holds you close and actively promotes and fosters what you do, it is an amazing asset to your mission.

    Why, then, is not every giving circle hosted?  Less than half of the Philanos affiliates are hosted, and the issue of hosted vs. independent 501 (c) 3 status remains a perennial topic for webinars, conferences, the member forum and questions to our board members.  The truth is, in every relationship, problems crop up.  Some can be resolved with hard work and new understandings.  Others dissolve and a breakup occurs.  Where are the pressure points – the place where relationships between host and giving circle can crack?

    • Money.  The relationship is, by nature, transactional.  Somewhere, somehow, an administrative fee for operations will have to be paid.  Depending on how large your group and how much the foundation does for you, your members (or special donors) will have to pay.
    • Money.  How are you charged for what you are getting?  Flat fee, surcharge, percentages?  Most foundations charge a percentage (usually 2-1/2 to 4%) to manage donor advised funds.  If you have an endowment and the foundation manages that as well, they may charge the fee on whichever is larger—your assets or your grants.
    • MOU.  Have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is crystal clear.  It needs to be updated when things change, and it’s recommended that you also review it regularly every 3-5 years.
    • Ownership. If you were created under a foundation, they own your name/brand unless otherwise stated in an MOU.  If you create an endowment under your foundation, they own those assets, which they can keep even if you are no longer an organization.  The legacy of your assets should be spelled out in your MOU.
    • Technology. If you share technology platforms, make sure you are part of the contract for updates and service.   Realize that shared platforms can reduce your overall operating costs, but your needs and the contracts need to be carefully minded.
    • People.  Relationships between you and the foundation are built on trust and understanding over time.  Be proactive whenever there are key personnel changes at the foundation and anticipate time spent on fostering new relationships.   Likewise, each new leadership team of your circle needs to spend time getting to know the foundation staff.
    • Expectations.  What do you expect the foundation to help you with in fostering your circle and what, in fact, are they willing and able to do?  Conversely, what does the foundation expect from you in terms of access to your membership for marketing their products and services?
    • Communication.   Crucial to everything already listed, but even more critical in terms of public facing communiques.  When your circle and the foundation are in sync, the host sees your work as integral to their mission (and vice versa).

    Recently, Susan Benford, Chair of Philanos, began collecting information for peer-to-peer sharing from circles who were transitioning from a hosted status with their community foundations to becoming their own independent 501 (c) 3.   Two affiliates, the Roanoke Women’s Foundation (RWF), Roanoke, VA, and Del Mar Women’s Giving Collective (DMWGC), Del Mar, CA, participated in documenting their stories.  Kathy Stockburger of RWF and Lani Curtis of DMWGC each shared insights with us as to how their journey unfolded.   Their responses to a series of questions reveals lessons learned in forging new paths.

    What motivated your transition from being hosted to securing 501 (c) 3 status and how long did it take?

    RWF transitioned from a field of interest (FOI) fund at the Roanoke Community Foundation because of a desire to be autonomous, based primarily on financial considerations.  The group was doing most of their own administrative work already and felt they could reduce costs charged to them by the foundation related to events, office supplies, software, etc.  They also wanted to allow their members full donations to be tax deductible (including the admin fee).  Finally, they listed a concern about grant allocation decisions needing approval by the foundation.  Although they had never had a grant decision overturned, hypothetically the foundation had that power.  RWF board members recall the topic of becoming a separate entity had been mentioned on occasion in the past, but it wasn’t until 2020 that the board spent an entire year in study and discussion before voting on the transition.  The final process was smooth and relatively quick – they applied for status in December of 2020 and received the IRS determination letter in April of 2021.

    DMWGC transitioned from a donor advised fund (DAF) at the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation.  They were the second women’s giving circle that foundation agreed to host, but shortly after taking them on, the foundation said they could no longer process any of their administrative expenses. They felt the decision was made for them by the foundation, and they had to become their own 501 (c) 3 if they wanted to continue to operate.  They did so quite quickly, between November 2019 and January 2020.  They also received a grant from a local business to help them set up.  Lani Curtis shared that their members immediately realized the full tax benefit of their donations, and the circle felt that the new status gave them greater legitimacy when recruiting prospective members.

    While a member of the foundation what actions had the host performed for your circle?

    Since Roanoke had a longer standing relationship than Del Mar with their foundation, the RWF reported that the foundation had had handled member donations and reconciliation for granting, maintained a member data base, sent tax receipt letters, approved allocations for grantees, and originally shared software. 

    DMWGC stated that RSF Foundation had originally collected their donations and distributed grants as voted on by their own advisory council, distributed tax receipts to members and reimbursed approved expenses to members or vendors.

    How was the change communicated to members?

    Both organizations said they communicated directly with membership.  Since Roanoke had more time for their process, they communicated when they first had the idea years prior, during the year of study by the board, and to a greater extent when the board decided to move on it.  Communications included benefits as well as challenges, and occurred in newsletters, direct mail, and virtual events. 

    Del Mar communicated once the advisory council decision was made and got no pushback.  It was a very minimal change for their members, just a different donor name on their check.

    How much did it cost to attain a 501 (c) 3 ruling?

    Roanoke paid attorney’s and filing fees of about $2,000.  Del Mar paid about $1,000, but a member attorney did the work pro bono.

    What new expenses do you anticipate your circle will have?

    RWF anticipates about $1,000 in annual insurance costs, including risk mitigation for social events; increased accounting fees (including filing 990) of up to $5,000, software fee of $6,500 annually, and administrative costs for website, IT, stationery, postage that were not estimated.

    DMWGC has, so far, only had the filing costs.  They are a small circle, relatively new, and are still absorbing costs through volunteer help.

    What was most helpful in making the transition?  What was most challenging?

    Roanoke felt that their intentionality and adequate study beforehand paid off, as well as having knowledgeable legal guidance.  Keeping major stakeholders, like founders and board members, informed and engaged was important.

    The challenges for the RWF included following regulations in a timely manner, becoming very scrupulous in document retention, financial reports, anything to do with the tax-exempt status, and knowing which nonprofit benefit entities to join.

    Del Mar felt that their biggest challenge was that the transition was out of necessity, not a decision they had originally planned to make.  They are a new group with younger members who are actively involved in work and childrearing, so they do not feel as if they have a deep bench of working volunteers to do the heavy lifting of running a nonprofit.  They are currently actively seeking a working relationship with another foundation.

    What sort of relationship do you retain with your former host?

    RWF reports they remain on excellent terms with their previous host, the Roanoke Community Foundation.  Immediately after their departure they hosted an appreciation luncheon for the foundation staff to cement those feelings and that relationship.  Since leaving, RWF has embarked on a strategic planning process to provide new structure that will allow them to be sustainable and resource their administrative costs.

    Kathy Stockburger, a nonprofit consultant, and member of Roanoke Women’s Foundation, sums up their new status in this way: 

                “We are carefully straddling the line between resourcing our costs to do what we do – allocate over $350k annually – and not be perceived as competition by our grantees.  We are not a fundraising organization and feel strongly that we need to navigate this prudently.  We can, however, accept gifts beyond our member donations, engage sponsors for events, and explore a friends-type gift initiative for those who do not wish to become members… There is no model fitting every giving group.  Plan strategically.  It is a lot of work.”

  • Wednesday, April 13, 2022 11:19 AM | Nancy Clark (Administrator)

    Leading Women’s Giving Circle Network
    Announces Three New Board Members

    Philanos, the leading women’s giving circle network in the U.S., announces three newly elected board members comprised of women who are members of Philanos affiliate organizations.

    “The Philanos board welcomes these women whose talents, skills, knowledge and experiences will be welcome additions to our board’s continued growth,” says Gwen Wesley, Chair of Nominations.

    Amy Conard
    Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund, St. Louis, MO

    Amy Conard is the Technology Chair and Board member for Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund.  She has led a technology transition over the past three years to implement new software, consolidate systems and increase access for members to manage their information and access resources.

    After a successful corporate career in Information Technology, she now consults with nonprofits to help them be more efficient and effective by leveraging software. The consulting work includes assessing the needs, identifying software options, and providing recommendations on solutions and implementation. She also mentors women technical leaders and volunteers in a food pantry and at the International Institute. 

    Amy has an MBA from Washington University and an aerospace engineering degree from Princeton University.  She has two sons, Jacob and Peter, who regularly remind her how much taller they are.

    Heather Jauregui
    Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation, Boise, ID

    Heather has been a leadership volunteer for multiple nonprofit and charitable organizations. Her career has been in the nonprofit sector leading teams and philanthropy programs. An active member of IWCF since 2005, and a director for seven years, Heather has served in many leadership roles at IWCF, including president, vice president, and symposium chair. Heather has a MS in education for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a BS in business from Santa Clara University. She’s been honored as one of the Idaho Business Review’s Accomplished “40 Under 40” in 2003. An Idaho native, Heather resides in Boise with her husband and has three adult stepchildren.

    Ann Marie McGee
    Impact 100 Redwood Circle, Santa Rosa, CA

    Ann Marie McGee is a member of Impact 100 Redwood Circle where she co-chaired the Marketing Committee for four years. Moving to Sonoma County in 2017, she joined Impact 100 Redwood Circle to learn more about nonprofits in the North Bay and quickly embraced the collective giving model and its importance for women to support their communities.

    She is currently a board member for the Santa Rosa Symphony where she serves on the Donor Relations Committee.  Prior nonprofit board experience includes Brighter Beginnings and Northern Light School, both in Oakland and the Contra Costa Crisis Center in Walnut Creek. She has also served on numerous advisory/advancement committees for the University of Idaho. As a National Volunteer for Tri Delta sorority, Ann Marie currently serves on the Volunteer Engagement Committee focused on quality leadership experiences for national coordinator and committee chair positions.

    Prior to retiring and relocating to Sonoma County, Ann Marie had her own marketing consulting firm, specializing in branding, messaging and positioning services for startup/early-stage technology companies. Her consultancy was preceded by stints at several technology startups in Silicon Valley, including GRiD Systems where she was the Marketing Manager for the industry’s first tablet computer. Before her tech career, she taught music at Arkansas State University and Interlochen National Music Camp and was a member of the Arkansas Symphony. Ann Marie holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in flute performance from the University of Idaho and the University of Illinois.

    Ann Marie lives in Santa Rosa with her husband Robert where they enjoy learning about food and wine, gardening, traveling and spending time with their two children and a granddaughter. When not volunteering, she enjoys cooking, playing her flute, watercolor painting, tennis, and golf.

    Philanos is a philanthropic network of women’s funds, foundations and giving circles that grants collectively into their own communities. Philanos accelerates women’s philanthropic giving by providing resources to its members to increase their impact. Philanos believes that communities with women’s collective giving circles are healthier, safer, more equitable and thriving. The network is comprised of women and those who identify as women. Philanos represents over 17,500 women in 80 affiliates in the U.S. and abroad who have collectively infused over $146M into their respective communities through their collective giving organizations.

  • 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.

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