Philanthropy often evokes thoughts of giving enormous sums of money, and being a philanthropist can feel unattainable for even the most charitably inclined individuals. Although this belief is understandable – large gifts tend to receive the most attention – it is a false belief that fails to recognize the power behind collective giving and the significance of all kinds of support. The reality is that anyone can be a philanthropist, and joining a giving circle is one of many ways to engage in philanthropy.  

Giving circles allow individuals to pool their charitable dollars and decide together where to give their money all while learning about their community and philanthropy together. And because giving circles focus on giving more together, they can make an impact far greater than could be made by individual gifts.

Take the Central Georgia Empowerment Fund for instance – a giving circle established at the Community Foundation of Central Georgia as a way to cultivate charitable giving within the African American community and to build the financial sustainability of Black-serving and Black-led nonprofits. A generous lead gift to endow the fund from the Griffith Family Foundation in 2019 coupled with a major gift from Knight Foundation and annual donations from members provide the funding to award grants to local Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits working to improve the quality of life for African American communities across Central Georgia.  

Members help grow the fund’s assets through their annual contributions.  Half of every member’s contribution supports annual grantmaking and the other half supports an endowment of the program, increasing the grantmaking capacity of the giving circle over time and ultimately building an endowment to ensure African American philanthropy is strong and represented in Central Georgia forever. But for members, this fund is about more than just an annual gift. As a member you have an opportunity to learn about needs facing the community and be involved in deciding how grant dollars are spent each year. This year the Empowerment Fund held its first grant cycle and members voted to award 16 nonprofit organizations a total of $48,000 in grants. Be sure to check out the organizations and their projects here.  

By leveraging the philanthropic efforts of many donors, the Empowerment Fund gives individuals the opportunity to be part of making a more substantial impact on the community with their giving. If you’re looking for an opportunity to be a leader in encouraging effective philanthropy and enhancing community service within the Black communities in Central Georgia, joining the Central Georgia Empowerment Fund is the entry into philanthropy you need. Anyone can be a philanthropist with the right tools and resources, and CFCG can help. We are proud to provide the necessary tools to help those desiring to make a positive impact in the community the ability to do so. 


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