What an amazing evening! Over 120 people came to Chicago to help the Asian Giving Circle celebrate its 10th Anniversary! I am so proud to be part of this national giving circle movement. Ten years ago we could never have imagined our local efforts would spark a movement of 31 Giving Circles that have collectively given over $1.4 million to over 240 AAPI organizations! WOW!!!
It was such a joyous and magical evening. The energy, love and support in the room were contagious and revitalized my commitment. Although many of the attendees were people I met for the first time, they seemed like old friends.
It was also exciting to meet new giving circle representatives from across the country and learn about their local giving efforts. What I especially love about the idea of Giving Circles is that Giving Circles make philanthropy accessible. It demystifies the idea of who is a philanthropist. This Movement also challenges the perception that “Asians don’t give.” We do!
Through the Giving Circles, we are making an impact in our communities by bringing new funding resources to the table. Giving Circles have the ability to seek out small nonprofits that otherwise would not be in the radar of mainstream foundations. For some small AAPI nonprofits in metro-Chicago, the Asian Giving Circle was their first funder. Our support helps to leverage funding or offer a “stamp of approval” to other funders. What I value most about Giving Circles is that we have the ability to take risks and fund controversial or “taboo” topics, such as human trafficking, suicide, and mental health, and bring visibility to these issues.
No doubt the most exciting and memorable take away was the Flash Giving Circle that took place that evening, in which $10,000 was raised for Korean American Women in Need! Special thanks to the generosity of all the participants and a generous match from Wells Fargo for making this possible! What a wonderful surprise and perfect way to end the evening. Furthermore, it illustrates the impact of that Giving Circles can have by pooling our individual resources to support causes we care about.
Serena Moy, Co-founder, Asian Giving Circle, Chicago
For pictures from the event, please visit us on Flickr.