Join a Giving Circle

What is a giving circle?

A giving circle is a way to pool your dollars and give to causes you care about in partnership with others. Members give their own gift, raise money from their networks of family and friends, and make decisions together about how to distribute that money in the form of grants. Giving circles also provide social networks, leadership development, peer support, and learning among members.

The size of the group can vary—it can be six to twelve people. The amount of money the giving circle distributes can also vary. In many cases there are guidelines for what types of organizations are appropriate to receive funds from a giving circle. For example, a giving circle may focus their grantmaking on a particular community, or on a specific issue. 

All giving circles share a desire to support a particular cause or community, and a commitment to move through the process together

 

North Star Fund’s Springboard Giving Circle

In the past few years, North Star Fund has piloted giving circles in partnership with the New York chapter of Resource Generation. Giving circle members worked alongside North Star Fund’s Community Funding Committee during the North Star Fund grantmaking cycle. Through collective fundraising and decision-making, these four giving circles moved over $400,000 to support grassroots organizing groups in New York City.

North Star Fund’s Springboard Giving Circle runs for a period of 4 months. Through participation in the giving circle, members will:

  • Work alongside North Star Fund's Community Funding Committee of seasoned activists;
  • Give money to support grassroots groups on the cutting edge of social change work;
  • Develop fundraising skills to inspire others to support community organizing and activism;
  • Visit grassroots organizations, connect with people on the ground, and learn what makes the strategies of local organizers successful; and
  • Collaborate with others to make grants decisions.

If you’re excited about investing in communities working to build a more just society, we want you! Contact Helen Stillman, Donor Program Director, at (212) 620-9110 or helen@northstarfund.org.

Why do people start or join giving circles?

Many people seek the chance for the unique learning opportunity a giving circle offers to:

  • Build support for a cause or community you care about 
  • Learn first hand how a grantmaking process works
  • Build relationships with like-minded leaders who share your interest on a particular issue or community

Start Your Own Giving Circle

Are you passionate about an issue and want to start your own giving circle? We can host your giving circle and provide the administrative “back end” functions that you will need. We accept donations for you, online or by mail, provide donors with tax acknowledgements, and handle the due diligence the IRS requires for your grants.

Here are some of the giving circles hosted by North Star Fund:

  • The Dinner Guys is a group of friends that meets monthly to socialize and raise money for organizations that serve LGBTQ Asian Americans. Contributions from individuals to the Dinner Guys Fund are matched by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) as part of AAPIP's National Giving Circle Network. 
  • The International Dreamers Scholarship Fund was started by a group of teachers at International High School in Brooklyn who wanted to support undocumented students to attend college.

It’s easy to get started – all you need is a few friends and the willingness to ask for money. Contact cori schmanke parrish at (212) 620-9110 or cori@northstarfund.org for more information.

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