COVID-19 has drastically affected nonprofits and individuals across the county. As social distancing became a daily reality, annual fundraising events were put on hold, reconfigured to be held virtually or ultimately cancelled.
Fortunately, giving circles like 100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun were able to step up and rapidly respond to the needs of our community using their combined dollars and advocacy efforts.
Giving circles are defined as a group of people who pool charitable donations and collectively decide where to allocate their money. Members leverage their dollars to do something bigger – and perhaps better – than they could on their own.
This model of philanthropy brings people together to accomplish some serious good in a joyful way.
Philanthropists are often drawn to global problems, leading them to invest in the well-being and empowerment of people living thousands of miles away. Giving circles are one of the best vehicles to make an impact on a local community.
Members who nominate a charity advocate for the mission and current needs of the nonprofit. When the members vote on which charity to support, they know exactly how their money is going to impact the organization.
100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun members typically meet, in person, four times per year. The chapter has three sister groups – Ahwatukee, Scottsdale and East Valley. The groups were able to meet in person for their first quarter meetings.
After COVID-19 began to spread in our community, the chapter leaned into technology and utilized Zoom to continue meeting virtually for the remainder of the year.
“We didn’t skip a beat,” shared Stephanie Millner, chief charity officer for 100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun. “Canceling our giving circles was never a consideration for us. We knew the need in the community was significant and we knew we could help.”
Aside from adjusting their meeting format, the chapter made concessions for members who needed to skip a donation or contribute less due to personal circumstances.
Distributing money quickly is a major benefit of the giving circle model. Within one month of the members meeting, thousands of dollars can be in the hands of the selected charity.
The charity recipient is notified immediately so they know when to expect the money. Now more than ever, it is crucial that nonprofits receive funds timely to continue funding their programs.
In 2020, 100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun members donated over $115,000 spread across twelve charities.
The East Valley group donated to Aris Foundation, a Gilbert organization that helps homeless people in a variety of ways; the Arizona Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America, which helps veterans suffering spinal cord injury or other disabilities; Maggie’s Place, which provides help and support for pregnant and parenting women; and Empowerment Through Sports, which builds and maintains a support mechanism for young athletes.
Since the chapter’s inception in 2015, almost $700,000 has been given to local charities. This group of women have learned that giving back is better together.