What is a Giving Project, is that like a Giving Circle?
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.
What are the goals of this new program?
- To connect people with varying degrees and forms of privilege in ways that acknowledge systems of oppression and our shared humanity while also incorporating time and space for healing.
- To frame giving, fundraising, and grantmaking as a transformative way to contribute to movement building.
- To provide an opportunity to build skills in fundraising and grantmaking.
- To set high expectations for philanthropy to pursue equitable giving, fundraising, and grantmaking.
- To make a meaningful contribution to movement building through group process that reinforces a positive vision for change, a sense of connection, and a sense of efficacy.
Isn’t this the model used by Social Justice Fund NW? Is it okay with them that you are using it?
Our friends at Social Justice Fund NW developed this model and have used it for the last six years. We are part of a Learning Community of seven other funds (and growing!) that are applying this form of giving to their work. We’re collaborating with SJF and the other participants to further refine the model and be responsive to the needs of communities and participants. Our pilot will use many of the shared materials and approaches of the model, but will also differ on quite a few details. It will align closely with our mission and giving practices through its additional focus on gender justice and the particular oppression of women & femmes of color.
Is this replacing Annual Grantmaking with the member voting process for the Women’s Foundation?
Yep! We anticipate this program will be the primary grantmaking program for the Foundation going forward. The Foundation 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 has a separate application and process from the Giving Project.
What is the value for cohort participants?
The Giving Project provides a space for deep learning, meaningful connection, and community contribution. The model is designed to generate collective learning and growth through diving deep into the systemic drivers of oppression and the implementation of a form of radical wealth redistribution. If you believe that resource redistribution is a necessary component of justice and you want to pursue that goal with a structured cross-race/cross class cohort committed to learning and growth -- The Giving Project would be a great fit for you.
In past years, an incentive for joining the Foundation as a member included voting on annual grantmaking. With this new project, what will be the role of Foundation members who are not part of the Giving Project cohort?
Our shift to the Giving Project model does involve leaving behind the member-voting model that we used for the Foundation’s first few years. We strongly feel that this new approach to annual grantmaking is an even truer expression of the values that we aspired to with our member-voting process: shared learning, community-driven grantmaking, and collective decision-making.Even though all members will no longer have the opportunity to vote on our annual grants, there are still lots of ways to meaningfully engage with the Foundation and with our grantmaking. All our members will have the opportunity to spread the word about our grant application process, attend Giving Project fundraisers, information sessions, and Foundation celebrations.We also hope that we’ll be able to run multiple cohorts in coming years, giving lots of our members the opportunity to participate in a Giving Project. And we will of course share news of our grantees selected by every Giving Project through our newsletter and on the Foundation's website!
I want to participate in a future cohort, how can I be involved?
The pilot cohort is full but there are other ways to get involved this year. You can donate to the project, 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. We’ll be sharing information about how to be a part of future cohorts in the coming months!
I know of an organization who would like to apply for a grant, how can I be involved?
We will release grant application details in the fall. Please join our mailing listand check out the website for updates -- we would love your help in spreading the word to potential grantees!