By: Alex Wong, Community Philanthropy Manager
In celebration of the Asian Giving Circle’s 10th Anniversary, we feature the impact and partnerships that Giving Circles have in our communities. In this Part Three of a three-part series, we interview Janice Atkins Washington, Coordinator of Donor Services, and Bob Eichinger, Director of Donor Service at The Chicago Community Trust, the fiscal host of the Asian Giving Circle.
Why does The Trust believe in Giving Circles?
Our aim is to engage donors in the effort to improve the wellbeing of our community. In its role in inspiring philanthropy, The Chicago Community Trust ("The Trust") acts as a catalyst to enable ideas to take action and make an impact. Giving Circles are a simple and effective way for individuals and groups to fulfill their philanthropic needs. For us, though, we further see an opportunity to encourage and engage our volunteers/donors more deeply due to the democratic nature of a Giving Circle.
Our relationship with the Asian Giving Circle ("AGC") is particularly symbiotic. Like any relationship, we learn from one another. We hope that AGC learns from The Trust by connecting with other donors and our network. By the same token, The Trust has also learned much through AGC in particular because they have exposed and introduced us to so many community organizations that were not on our radar.
Why did The Trust get involved in the National Giving Circle Campaign?
A core value of the Trust is its commitment to diversity; it shows in our staff, it shows in our work, and it is why we support giving circles such as AGC.
In addition, we value making a greater impact where we can strategically partner with a respected organization over the long term. That is why we have hosted AGC for 10 years. It’s also why we’ve partnered with AAPIP. AAPIP plays a crucial and catalytic role in supporting and drawing giving circles together as a movement through its own resources and matching gifts to member contributions. So that is why The Trust got involved and that is also why any other community foundations that share these values would be well served in partnering with the AAPIP’s National Giving Circle Campaign.
The Trust has hosted AGC for 10 years, any other lessons that you have learned?
Besides learning about some of the wonderful community organizations that AGC has supported, we have also learned more subtle aspects regarding our community in the greater Chicago area.
For example, when AGC announced its grant making priority to focus on AAPI mental health services, AGC initially received a tepid response from the community even though members of AGC knew that there were needs in the community. After AGC reworded “mental health services” to include the more holistic phrase, “counseling and family services,” the proposal submissions grew significantly. It may be a subtle verbiage change, but it is one that illustrates one of the many examples of how we continue to learn from AGC’s experience.
Why did the Trust decide to support AGC with a grant this year?
In commemoration of its 10th anniversary, AGC set a more ambitious fundraising goal to resource our greater Chicago community. AGC is out here raising their own money; as a national partner, AAPIP is matching their money. We felt that we should not be standing on the sideline. We see AAPIP’s role in shepherding the National Giving Circle Movement and we see a great opportunity to support a three-way partnership. The Trust wants to help AGC succeed and we wanted to celebrate their success.
We are proud to partner with AGC and AAPIP and are honored to be able to celebrate the momentous 10-year anniversary of AGC.
To commemorate the 10-year anniversary, The Chicago Community Trust made a grant of $12,500 to the Asian Giving Circle.