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Giving Circles


As a membership organization, part of our mission is to understand and promote philanthropic giving. One of the ways we are doing this is by promoting the growth of giving circles and welcoming them as members.

 Registration is open for 2017 Annual Giving Circle Connector Gathering. Click here for details. 


  • A giving circle is a pooled fund, generally hosted or sponsored by a charitable organization such as a community foundation, through which members make grants together.
  • They are typically organized around a particular issue or area of interest, such as women's issues, quality of life, or the environment, and are considered a high engagement form of philanthropy because donors usually participate in collective decision making and educational activities.



  • "The Impact of Giving Together" Giving circles have emerged over the last decade as a growing and significant philanthropic trend among donors of all wealth levels and backgrounds.This report finds that donors in giving circles give more, give more strategically, and are more engaged in their local communities.
  • "A Handbook for Giving Circle Hosts" This report highlights the relationship between giving circles and their host organizations. Included is a handbook of tools for giving circle host organizations, in particular community foundations.
  • "More Giving Together: The Growth and Impact of Giving Circles and Shared Giving" This report finds that groups of people are getting together and giving together, and are an established philanthropic forcethat has raised $100 million to support diverse charitable causes.
  • "Giving Together: A National Scan of Giving Circles and Shared Giving" This report released in 2005 by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmaker's New Ventures in Philanthropy Initiative, called Giving Together, reveals that giving circles in Greater Baltimore are a part of a growing national trend in philanthropy, pouring more than $44 million into communities nationwide since 2000.
  • "Growing Philanthropy Through Giving Circles: Lessons Learned from Start Up to Grantmaking" This report written by Tracey Rutnik and Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers in 2003 highlights how today's donors want an engaging philanthropic experience - and how despite the tight economy, donors are opening their checkbooks and their schedules to participate in giving circles.



  • Fifteen years ago, ABAG was fortunate to receiving funding from the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers New Ventures in Philanthropy Project and over 20 local funders to start a region-wide effort called the Baltimore Giving Project (BGP) with the goal of promoting organized philanthropy, particularly among people who have not considered themselves "philanthropists” in the traditional sense. One of the strategies of the BGP was to bring the concept of giving circles to our region.
  • We are proud to have played a role in the development and growth of a number of circles in our region by providing information, giving some seed funding, organizing and attending meetings, speaking publicly, working with the media, facilitating learning sessions, and developing and distributing resources for giving circles in our region over the last 15 years, and we are pleased to continue playing a role in the development, growth and sustainability of giving circles in our region and across the country. 
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