Posts Tagged ‘Jessica E. Bearman’

Let’s try a new recipe for a great feeling.  The ingredients are (1) having a good time, (2) meeting new people, (3) talking about a topic you feel strongly about, (4) working with new friends, (5) working with old friends, (6) helping others, (7) getting hold of the future, (8) making your community better, (9) learning about charity needs, (10) influencing others, and (11) accepting accolades for work well done.  This life dessert is a giving circle.  It has qualities similar to missionary and rosary societies, hometown fraternities and service clubs, alumni and retiree chapters.  Well okay, the giving circles are spicier and probably more caloric.  Think chocolate sauce on double chocolate.

The stuff you can get from Google is confusing and a bit intimidating, but I don’t think the idea is hard to understand or respond to.  You join with friends and family, coworkers and strangers to pool your charity giving around a broad topic of interest.  You meet and the money collected is divided into two pots, half for immediate giving and half for an endowment fund to impact the future.

Everyone makes sugestions and everyone’s idea is given a full discussion.  A vote is taken and instructions are passed on to the community foundation: “Set this amount aside for an endowment fund and pay this amount out immediately to these nonprofits.  Call on us if you or the nonprofits need help.  Report back.”

The rules don’t have to take long to settle on or do they need to be a burden.  The Clarion County Community Foundation can take care of complying with the law, keeping the records, and handling the money.  It can even call the meetings if asked.  The people creating the giving circle need to select a broad field of interest such as Women, Food, Veterans, Earth, and then invite others to join in the charitable effort.  Most giving circles set a minimum amount for everyone to give.  If a person wants to give more they do so annonimously.  Each year the circle renews itself and the work goes on.

Do you like the idea of a giving circle?  Do you have a field of interest you want to be involved in?  Good, the next step is to call us, Steve Kosak, Executive Director at (814) 677-5085, or Charles Marlin, Board President at (814) 797-2233.  We can put out publicity to recruit others and create a page on Clarion Friends to let the community know what you are doing and planning.

If you want to read about giving circles but not spend time searching, go to Forum Of Regional Associations Of Grantmakers at http://www.giving forum.org  Their Ten Basic Steps to Starting a Giving Circle reinvents the wheel but you will see that hitching a ride with CCCF is a lot easier and more exciting.  They have two longer documents you may wish to look at, More Giving Together: An Updated Study of the Continuing Growth and Powerful Impact of Giving Circles and Shared Giving by Jessica E. Bearman, and another by Angela M. Eikenberry, Giving Circles and Fundraising in the New Philanathropy Environment, published February 2007.  Eikenberry will have a book published by Indiana University Press this coming June, Giving Circles: Philanthropy, Voluntary Association, and Democracy.  Charles Marlin

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