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The Community Foundation Blog


Women leaders share the power of collective giving
By The Community Foundation / March 25, 2019
Women leaders share the power of collective giving

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting bold women leaders in our community throughout the month of March. 

When women come together and leverage their collective resources to amplify their impact, they can do remarkable things. Richmond is home to two women’s giving circles that bring grassroots philanthropists together to harness the power of collective giving:

  • SisterFund, whose mission is to improve the lives of African American women and girls by transforming local nonprofits through significant, collective financial investments.
  • Impact 100, which empowers women to make a lasting impact in our community by collectively funding transformational grants.

We asked leaders in these organizations: What attracted you to participate in a giving circle, and what are the benefits of women giving together? Here’s what they had to say.

Evette Roots, SisterFund Chair

I have always been interested in philanthropy and the idea of giving and investing in worthy causes. What attracted me to the giving circle was the ability to be able to do something extraordinary with good friends and like-minded “sisters.” The giving circle gives us the opportunity to make a larger impact on our community.

When women give together, we can support what is important to us and what we care about in our community. For SisterFund, that means pooling our time, talent and treasure to support organizations that are working to transform the lives of African American women and girls.

Rashida Gray, MD, SisterFund member

I joined SisterFund during the inaugural year, because I knew that we “sisters” could have a profound impact in our community, helping women and girls who look like us. African American women have been giving back informally for centuries and SisterFund has transformed that tradition into a more formalized, intentional and impactful format. The membership is made up of an extraordinary group of women, who consistently inspire me to be more ambitious, more philanthropic and a better “sister.” It is an honor and privilege to stand with sisters, helping other sisters.

Carol Anne Lajoie, Impact 100 Chair

I was attracted to collective giving because I literally felt the impact of it when my then-organization, YWCA, became a recipient. I wanted to “pay it forward” and joined with a friend because I was impressed with what collective giving achieves when smaller resources are pooled together to create significant gifts. I truly fell in love with the women volunteering at Impact. It’s only been since 2013, but I know I have made lifelong friends. The benefit of women giving together is learning about philanthropy, modeling philanthropic behavior, and demonstrating that philanthropy takes many different forms.

Lissy Bryan, Impact 100 member

What attracted me to participate in a giving circle? One word: IMPACT.

The idea that one can leverage a modest personal gift into a game-changer is extremely compelling.

As most giving is usually individual and personal, being part of a circle is also EMPOWERING.

When women come together from various viewpoints and interests, new insights are shared and ideas brought forward — often giving new context to an issue or initiative and leading to thoughtful, well-reasoned decisions.

SO, being part of a group of women giving together has impact and force; it is also illuminating and fun.

A “win-win” for all!









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