Giving That Makes A Difference, Without Bill Gates' Bank Account

| 12/7/2007 11:37:23 AM

A new group of coupon-clipping, middle-classed philanthropists are changing the way Americans give to charity. Baltimore’s Utne Independent Press Award-nominated Urbanite Magazine reports on giving circles, a style of philanthropic organization that’s breaking the big, rich, white mould of moneybags like Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates. Members of giving circles give small donations that are then bundled together to make a big impact. This lets donors use their local knowledge to shape how their donations are used.

“Giving circles definitely represent the democratization of philanthropy,” says Daria Teutonico, director of New Ventures in Philanthropy at FRAG, “but some community foundations use their knowledge of community needs and their knowledge of making grants to help giving circles grow and develop.”

Giving circles let concerned citizens get involved in their communities by working directly with the organizations that they donate to. For more on giving circles, and tips on how to give wisely without a ton of cash, take a look at “Giving Till it Helps,” an excerpt from WorldChanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century that Utne Reader reprinted last holiday season.

Brendan Mackie

Rick Rose_1
2/11/2008 3:39:56 PM

Giving circles are a great way to increase the impact of local donations, meet people in your community, and learn about nonprofits in your area. There are some great resources on starting and managing giving circles at the Giving Circles Knowledge Center (

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