GCF Giving Circles Offer Deeper Funding Connections

“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” — Flora Edwards

Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) believes that connecting people with purpose changes the lives of everyone involved. Giving circles — creative, interactive means of achieving that impact — bring like-minded people together to pool their resources, explore together how to best support causes they care about and, as a group, decide how to allocate their combined resources. GCF is increasing these hands-on opportunities for our donors with a variety of giving circles this year and will provide a match to each circle.

Participating in a giving circle can spur a sense of civic pride and energy, by fostering a heightened familiarity with the many — often unseen — organizations and people that are moving our region forward every day.

“This process, for me, was a chance to understand even deeper what is going on in the community and how to best support it,” NKY Giving Circle Chair Rebekah Gensler told Northern Kentucky Thrives.

Since 2017, GCF has convened three giving circles — focused on arts and culture, STEM education and Northern Kentucky youth — which engaged 34 donors and contributed more than $250,000 to 21 regional nonprofit organizations.

Our 2019 Giving Circles are forming now, and members will have the opportunity to determine the funding focus within the set topic of each circle. The opportunities include:

  • The NKY Giving Circle is underway now, but it’s not too late to get involved. Circle members will determine grants to support safety net services and substance abuse treatment programs administered by Northern Kentucky organizations in June.
  • The Animal Welfare Giving Circle, inspired by an earlier GCF grant review committee, will form in May to consider support for organizations involved in protecting and fostering the health of our region’s pets and other animals.
  • GCF’s first Giving Black: Cincinnati Giving Circle, developed as a result of last year’s Giving Black: Cincinnati report, will meet beginning in June. Organizations are being invited to offer interview-style presentations at one of its meetings.
  • This year’s Arts and Culture Giving Circle will convene starting in July to discern its focus area within Greater Cincinnati’s vibrant arts scene.
  • GCF’s NEXT Fund engages, empowers and mobilizes future generations of generosity while helping young people establish a relationship with GCF. GCF NEXT events throughout the year are highlighting key organizations under consideration, and GCF NEXT Giving Circle members will then choose the nonprofit receiving the 2019 grant at an event October 15.

“Each giving circle is unique — reflective of its members’ perspectives and priorities,” said Phillip Lanham, GCF Vice President, Donor and Private Foundation Services. “The process generates new, creative connections to organizations and between members, who take away from the group experience a pride of place and a deepened sense of ownership in the progress of our community.”

To learn more about participating in a GCF giving circle, please contact Colleen McCarthy Blair, Director, Donors Services, at 513-768-6134 or colleen.blair@gcfdn.org.