April 3, 2018
New Global Giving Circles Launched by New England International Donors


Photo credit: TBF


We started with a landscape scan (presented during my TPW grant defense) of other global funding networks, including Pangea, a substantial global giving circle co-founded by TPW member Linda Mason (TPW 2001–2002) from Seattle. Drawing from their lessons, NEID now holds about 40 educational and social events a year and has just realized my dream of running Global Giving Circles.

In 2017, our first Giving Circle included 19 women members and awarded $70,000 to four grantees that enhance education and economic opportunities for women and girls in Africa. This winter we launched another Circle on Women and Girls. Alongside it, we have initiated a Circle on Climate Change Mitigation. Each Circle meets monthly for six months with the goal of presenting grants to NGO staff at NEID’s November Gala.

What have we learned?

First, starting each circle with a personal reflection on the topic has been critical to creating a spirit of collaboration. As Krista Tippett (public radio host of “On Being”) recently wrote, and I paraphrase: “You can argue with one’s ideology, but not with one’s lived experience.” Second, men will join giving circles, especially with a male chair or co-chair. (For our Climate Change Circle, we have as co-chairs a male impact investor, who used to work for the Clinton Foundation and a female E.D. of a family foundation funding grassroots environmental movements.) Thirdly, a matching grant to the Circle can greatly increase members’ contributions and sense of impact.

NEID staff, Ina Breuer and Odette Ponce, draw upon the infrastructure and expertise of The Philanthropic Initiative and The Boston Foundation. Circle members, in addition to joining NEID ($500 per individual/family or $1,000 per institution), contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the grant pool and $200 to administer the fund.

For more information about NEID and a calendar of events see: www.neidonors.org

* This blog was originally published in the April 2018 Newsletter of The Philanthropy Workshop.