The Big Idea

What is a Giving Circle?

A giving circle is a form of participatory philanthropy where groups of individuals donate their own money or time to a pooled fund, decide together where to give these away to organizations or community projects and, in doing so, seek to increase their awareness of and engagement in the issues covered by the charity or community project.

The structure of the circles can be informal or formal. On the informal side, circles may vote and choose an organization to support and each member writes an individual check. Formal circles may have their money housed at a local community foundation and have staff that support the work of the circle. Giving circles can range in size from a handful of members to several hundred.

So What’s the Big Idea?

There are other giving circles in southern Nevada, so what’s so special about this one? We believe that our uniqueness lies in our grassroots philosophy and approach. Our annual contribution is modest yet powerful. These donations pooled together can make a huge impact on local organizations and in our community.

One of the things we’ve learned is that even though organizations may seem to be well-funded, their hands are often tied by restricted funds from specific donors. The beauty of a giving circle like ours is that grants can be awarded to organizations to use in any way they see fit. For example, The Rape Crisis Center needed unrestricted money to support survivors of sexual assault in need of phone cards, transportation, rent, and groceries.

What Types of Organizations or Causes does the Women’s Giving Circle of Southern Nevada Support?

 The mission of the Women’s Giving Circle of Southern Nevada is to provide an opportunity for philanthropic women to leverage their individual contributions to make a greater local impact. The giving circle is non-sectarian and committed to peace and justice (including racial justice and issues of poverty/wealth inequality), environmental sustainability, women and children’s health (including reproductive rights), access to the arts, LGBTQIA2 issues, and education.

The focus of the Women’s Giving Circle of Southern Nevada is to support local 501(c)3 non-profit organizations for which a modest, unrestricted grant can really make a difference.

How Will the Recipient Organization(s) Be Determined?

 Our current grant cycle process is to have an issue area selected by the membership first. Organizations are then nominated by individual circle members and selected by a vote of the full membership. This is currently known as our One Check=One Vote campaign.