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Community Philanthropy: AAPIP National Giving Circles Strategy Session, July 2010

July 27, 2010

Andy Ho represented the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle at the AAPIP giving circles strategy session.  This overview is cross-posted from AAPIP’s blog:

42 people. 13 giving circles. 2 days. 1 historic gathering.

On July 16 and 17, AAPIP hosted a National Giving Circle Strategy Session at our new offices in San Francisco, bringing together key leadership from established, new and emerging giving circles across the country.

Since 2005, AAPIP has made the growth and development of community philanthropy a cornerstone of our efforts to increase philanthropic capital to our communities.  For us, giving circles are pure expressions of building democratic philanthropy—they’re pooled funds where individual contributors come together to decide which organizations to support in their own community and how.

Participants from 13 giving circles came together to share stories and ideas on topics such as: how to start a giving circle, identifying best practices in the field, sustaining a giving circle, developing grantmaking criteria, fund development, and working with donors and with organized philanthropy in their own communities.

Those present included founders, leaders, and volunteers representing: Asian Giving Circle (Chicago), Asian Women Giving Circle (New York), Saffron Circle (Boston), Lunar Giving Circle (San Francisco Bay Area),Los Angeles API Giving Circle, Asian American Giving Circle of Greater Houston, South Asian Giving Circle (San Francisco Bay Area), Muslim Women Giving Circle (San Francisco Bay Area), Cherry Blossom Giving Circle (Washington DC), Asian Mosaic Fund (Philadelphia), Hmong Women Giving Circle (Minnesota), the Jasmine Women Giving Circle (Boston), the Circle of Change (Los Angeles), and the Devata/Cambodian American Women Giving Circle (San Francisco Bay Area).

Over the course of the two days new friendships and relationships were forged, and all giving circles — from the longest-running among them (Asian Giving Circle) to the newest circle (Devata/Cambodian American Women Giving Circle) to the largest (the Asian Women Giving Circle) — learned something new, and supported each other in moving forward.  We were also joined by two special guests,  Nicole Cozier of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, and Patricia Evert of The Gill Foundation, whose own personal commitment to the development of giving circles is shared by the foundations for whom they work.

We extend our thanks and  appreciation to all our guests and our staff who all made this gathering both educational and festive!

For more about AAPIP’s Community Philanthropy, view/download the AAPIP Giving Circle Brochure (PDF).

Four years ago, AAPIP conducted the first gathering of AAPI giving circles, and there were a total of four groups. Today there are 13 with several more emerging every month, representing a wide spectrum of communities, interests and donors. As we observe our 20th year of progress in philanthropy and in communities, we will be focusing even greater attention on the national movement to grow individual philanthropy and the critical role that giving circles play as part of that movement.  And on October 20, 2010, we will convene the AAPIP National Philanthropy Summit: Building Democratic Philanthropy, where we’ll share more about our vision for giving circles and how you can be a part of this movement. Join us online or at a convening in one of eleven cities across the nation hosting a celebration.  Visit us at for more information as it develops.

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