The Giving Project Pilot
About This Shift
The Women's Foundation of Oregon has changed a lot in the five years since we officially launched! We started as a merger between the Portland Women's Foundation and the Women's Care Foundation and since then we have grown and been challenged in many ways. From creating bodies of work around grantmaking, membership + community engagement, and research + information sharing, to beginning the continuous journey that is racial equity work, we continue to transform and shift to be more responsive to, accountable to, and supportive of women, girls, and femmes in Oregon and the organizations and people striving to bring real change to their own communities.
Learn more about our journey and why we are joining a network of peer foundations to change our annual grant-making model to The Giving Project by visiting our Spring 2019 Newsletter.
About The Giving Project
The Giving Project model was created by Social Justice Fund to reach and engage historically underrepresented communities in transformative leadership development and resource sharing.
A Giving Project is a model of giving that focuses on raising and distributing resources led by a group of folks who are cross-race and cross-class. The model values donations at all sizes and recognizes the value of resourcing the project in other ways - for example, through time, perspectives, and/or community connections.
The Women’s Foundation of Oregon will be the first gender-focused foundation in the country to apply this model. The pilot year will include the completion of a 6-month, Portland-based pilot cohort, ongoing development and improvement of the curriculum, structure, implementation, and organizational participation in the nationwide Giving Project Learning Community. This approach to grantmaking is deeply aligned with our commitment to advancing equity in philanthropy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nope, giving circles typically require buy-in at a predetermined level of wealth to participate (often $1,000 -$5,000), making the model inaccessible for folks who don’t have access to that amount of wealth. The Giving Project is a model of giving that is led by a group of folks that are cross-race and cross-class and focuses on the collective raising and redistributing of resources. Participants in Giving Projects come from many backgrounds and may not have access to large amounts of wealth. Our adaptation of the model values donations at all sizes and recognizes the value of resourcing the project in other ways - for example, through contributions of time, effort, perspective, and/or community connections.
The Women’s Foundation of Oregon will be the first gender-focused foundation in the country to adopt this model. Our pilot year will include the completion of a 6-month, Portland-based cohort, as well as the ongoing development and improvement of the curriculum and participation in the nationwide Giving Project Learning Community. The Giving Project approach to learning, fundraising, and grantmaking are deeply aligned with our commitment to advancing equity in philanthropy.
- Offering a vision for social change that centers movement building by people most impacted.
- Connecting people with varying degrees and forms of privilege in ways that acknowledge systems of oppression, shared humanity and offers mechanisms for healing.
- Presents giving, fundraising, and grantmaking as a transformative way to contribute to movement building.
- Builds skills and sets high expectations for success around equitable giving, fundraising, and grantmaking.
- Provides an opportunity to put skills into practice through giving, fundraising, and grantmaking.
- Meaningful contribution to movement building through group process reinforces the vision of change, sense of connection, and a sense of efficacy.
No, while Social Justice Fund has led this model and developed it, we are part of a Learning Community of seven other funds (and expanding!) that are applying this form of giving to their work and collaborating to understand and be responsive to the needs of communities and participants. While we are using the shared materials and foundation of the model, the Women’s Foundation version will be different in the details. It will align with our mission and giving practices more closely through its focus on gender and the particular oppression of women & femmes of color.
Yes, this model will be the main container for our annual grantmaking. We will award grant amounts based on how much the cohort raises. We will still have our quarterly rapid response grantmaking through the Immediate Impact Fund, which will not fall under the Giving Project model or the cohort’s decisionmaking.
The Giving Project Model provides engagement and education as a cohort. The process is designed to not only learn alongside others, but also to provide a fairly deep dive into the systemic drivers of oppression and to implement a model of radical wealth redistribution that considers the realities and needs of those most impacted.
Because we are shifting to prioritize community engagement through cohort learning in our grantmaking, the decision-making process of our grants will change as well. But there are still plenty of ways your membership can be in service to supporting this transformational model of grantmaking. You will receive invitations to the cohort’s planned fundraising event and other community-building gatherings. And we hope in the future that this model will expand and many will have the opportunity to participate in a cohort.
While the pilot cohort is full there are other ways to get involved. Donate to the project itself, attend events put on by the cohort, and continue to learn more and share this model in communities as we all push for more equitable philanthropic practices.