Building Community Philanthropy

Building Community Philanthropy – Reflections on the AAPIP National Giving Circle Campaign and the Future of Collective Giving for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy

In 2004, AAPIP began its exploration of giving circles quite by accident, in response to a request from a small group of donors who wanted to pool their funds in order to give back to the community. Over the course of several years that followed, AAPIP’s experience with this work slowly grew, leading to a major 5-year National Giving Circle Campaign from 2011 to 2015 that created 54 AAPIP Giving Circles that have raised $3.3 million to date from more than 5,000 donors to support some 500 AAPI organizations and causes around the country. While these numbers exceeded our initial expectations, what was most remarkable was how AAPIP’s Giving Circles embodied the idea that by working together in common cause, with social justice values and a shared commitment to serve community needs, even small donors can make a very big difference.

In 2017, we released a first report by Special Service for Groups (SSG) Research & Evaluation Team that examined the models and approach to AAPIP’s giving circles, and AAPIP’s unique role as a facilitator and capacity builder for that work. In this 2018 report, also commissioned through SSG, we are setting the context for giving circle work by examining the nature and needs of fast-growing Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. We are also taking a closer look at the underlying dynamics of AAPIP Giving Circles, including donor motivations, impacts on donors and grantees, and the lessons we are learning about what can help, or hinder, successful giving circle work.

As a national philanthropic membership organization dedicated to expanding and mobilizing resources for underserved AAPI communities, we also believe we have a role to play as an advocate for more foundations to invest in this line of work. We have thus ended this report by identifying what we see are compelling opportunities for funders to leverage impactful investments in community-based giving circles, including those that serve AAPIs. There is great potential here andmwe have only scratched the surface.