Central Georgia Empowerment Fund

Established in 2019, the Central Georgia Empowerment Fund is a black giving circle designed to cultivate charitable giving within the African American community. The fund seeks to build capacity and financial sustainability of nonprofits that serve the African American community and address the most pressing needs facing African Americans in the Central Georgia region.

Why It Matters

This giving circle will leverage our collective resources to encourage effective philanthropy and enhance community service within the African American community in Central Georgia. Everyone is welcome to participate in this collective effort to support Central Georgia’s Black communities.  Our region is diverse and in order to drive solutions that will positively impact the entire community we must be able to mobilize, empower, and sustain efforts that speak directly to that diversity. Members of the circle will pool their financial contributions to support meaningful and lasting solutions.

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Each member gives $325 per year or $30 per month to make the community a better place. Your dollars are pooled with others. Half of the money is used to give grants this year. The other half of the money is placed in an endowment for the future. You and the other members choose which organizations receive grants.

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1. Encourage and teach effective philanthropy and giving within the African American community.
2. Build a network that is a catalyst for social justice and positive change.
3. Strengthen and support organizations that are Black-led and Black-benefitting.
4. Promote volunteerism and leadership development in the African American community.
5. Make a difference by contributing monetary resources to nonprofit organizations that serve the African American community.
6. Improve the physical, economic, and educational conditions that affect the quality of life for all citizens.
7. Educate and increase awareness of needs of nonprofit organizations that serve the African American community.
8. Promote dialogue to strengthen race relations, and encourage community among ourselves and those we serve.
9. Support social, health and educational growth in the community by financially assisting and encouraging the development of activities that will ultimately strengthen the entire Central Georgia region.
10. Build an endowment fund to ensure African American philanthropy is strong and represented in Central Georgia forever.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to join?
Anyone is eligible to join. Membership is open to all persons who believe in our mission.

May a business join?

Yes. Businesses are welcome and encouraged to join. There is one vote per membership.

What are the membership dues?
There are two membership levels.
1.     An annual membership is $325. This can be paid as a one-time gift via check or credit card, or it can be paid in monthly installments of $30 via debit or credit card only. *Couples may share an annual membership ($325). However, there is only one vote per membership.
2.    A benefactor gift is $1,000. 100% of these gifts are placed in the Empowerment Fund endowment. Benefactors receive one vote.

Can my spouse and I share a membership?
Couples may share an annual membership ($325). However, there is only one vote per membership.

Where do the membership dues go?
Your membership dues contribution is divided in half. Half of the contribution goes into the Central Georgia Empowerment Fund that is used to award grants and cover expenses for Empowerment Fund events during the year. The other half is placed in the Central Georgia Empowerment Fund endowment for future grantmaking.

What do you mean by “endowment fund”?
An endowment fund is a permanent charitable account in which the principal is retained and invested. Over time the fund’s balance will grow and it will produce annual income available for grantmaking.

I already support the charities I care about.  Why should I join the Empowerment Fund?
Great! We hope you will continue to do so. The Empowerment Fund is not a substitute for directly supporting the causes and organizations that are important to you. The Empowerment Fund is a way to grow the impact of your charitable giving, learn about new organizations and meet like-minded people. It is a way to become involved in philanthropy at a level that might not be available to you individually.

Once I join, what are my obligations?
There are no obligations. Members can be as actively involved as they want. For those who are interested, members will be given opportunities to review grant applications, meet with the applicant nonprofit organizations, and network with other members who share a common interest.

What is a Giving Circle?

A Giving Circle is when individuals come together around a common issue or cause and pool their collective charitable dollars to have greater impact. Nationally, giving circles have emerged as a growing philanthropic trend among donors of all sizes and backgrounds.

Who can apply for a grant from the Empowerment Fund?
Applicants must be a 501c3 organization with leadership and constituents that are representative of the demographics of the region.

How does an organization apply?

There will be an online application on the Community Foundation of Central Georgia’s website that nonprofits can complete. The guidelines will be on the website. The application deadline is 12:00pm (noon) on TBD. Grants will be announced within three months of the deadline.

What is the grants process?
Each year, nonprofits can apply for a grant from the Empowerment Fund program. After the application deadline, members can volunteer to review the applications, make site visits, and select the finalists. The finalists will present their requests at the Grant Finalist Event, and then members will vote on each application. The scores will be averaged and the projects will be ranked according to their average score. Then the members will vote on how to distribute the available funds to the applicants. After the grants are approved by CFCG’s board and awarded, members can also participate in site visits to see the grants in action.

What if the grant applicant I voted for is not chosen?
This is a possibility. However, we believe that through the process the membership will be happy with the collective will of the group. There are many needs and deserving nonprofits in our area, and with our members’ help, more of those needs can be met and more nonprofits supported. We also hope that you will learn through this process about issues that you may not have known about – or supported – previously. And finally, in addition to collectively giving, we encourage everyone to directly support the nonprofits they care about.

Why Join?

  • Build connections with a diverse network.
  • Experience the power of collective giving.
  • Learn with your peers to give more effectively.
  • Fund local nonprofit organizations that serve the African American community.
  • Enjoy members-only social opportunities.
  • Change the face of philanthropy.
  • Discover volunteer opportunities.
  • Receive a tax deduction for your gift.