By Dana Heatherton, Asian American Giving Circle of Greater Houston
The AAGC is a multi-generational group of women which has largely supported the Asian refugee population of Houston. Dana is an analyst for Shell Trading U.S. Company.
When I walked into the Welcome Dinner for AAPIP’s 3rd National Convening, strangers I had never met were cheering and hugging me. It can only be described as a wonderful combination of pep rally, family reunion, and blind date. The enthusiasm in the room was contagious. There is a magical bond that occurs between people in giving circles and it crosses political, cultural, gender, sexual preference, and generational lines. We broke bread, shared stories, advice and cheered on our fellow giving circle members as one by one we stood up and introduced ourselves to our new family.
Over 50 giving circle members from across the U.S. arrived in San Francisco on July 13 and 14, to meet their counterparts and to learn how to improve their own giving circles back at home. What we weren’t prepared for was AAPIP Executive Director Peggy Saika’s call to action to start off the day-long conference. “We are part of a movement,” she said. And this changed everything. Our little giving circles we started with friends back home were put into a context larger than we ever imagined. AAPIP’s vision is to change the way people think about philanthropy. We do not have to depend on large corporations and foundations to fund the causes we care about. If there’s something bothering us, something we care about, something that we want to change – we have the power to do it. I realized at that moment we’ve already started the process.