By Nageeb Sumar, MASALA (Mid-Atlantic South Asians Leveraging Assets) Giving Circle, Washington, DC
I was both informed and inspired by the 2012 Giving Circle convening in San Francisco on July 13 and 14, which brought together leaders from over 20 giving circles across the country. As a member of an emerging giving circle, I had the chance to learn best practices from more established giving circles on recruiting, fundraising, soliciting proposals, or even having fun and celebrating the culture of giving. It also spoke volumes that all of the staff from AAPIP was present to enrich the discussion and contextualize the convening with AAPIP’s overall mission. Did you know that Asian American/Pacific Islanders make up more than 5% of the US population, yet less than 1% of philanthropic dollars flow to these communities? It made me appreciate even more the catalytic role that giving circles can play in making philanthropymore inclusive and responsive to local community needs. I also enjoyed our discussion on how AAPIP can continue to spur giving circles by lowering barriers to entry (get rid of bylaws?, get AAPIP help with social media/outreach?, help identify a fiscal host?).
AAPIP is doing a fantastic job jumpstarting and supporting giving circles across the country– 20 giving circles are already active with participation from over 1000 people! For those of us who have an interest in giving to local causes, starting or joining a giving circle is a no-brainer—you meet like-minded folks interested in making a difference, give to an issue you believe in, and to top it off, get a match from AAPIP on the dollars you raise to support your cause! Express your civic pride and strengthen your community—be active in a giving circle!