Start a Giving Circle This Summer

by Dr. M. Starita Boyce Ansari

Summer is finally here! After the brutal winter many of us experienced, it is time to look forward to those long, balmy days and breezy summer nights. Summer is the time when we anticipate school reunions, backyard barbecues with family and friends, and just having a bit more freedom for fun. However, summer is not the time to forget about giving and philanthropy. As we spend time enjoying this wonderful world, we should also think about ways we can help make it better. With the slight decrease in workload that comes during the season, this is perhaps the best time to consider creating a Giving Circle.

An issue that is too big for one person to tackle alone can be reduced by many people working together. For example, each year 10.9 million children under age five who live in underdeveloped countries die, mostly from malnutrition and hunger. Contributing $5,000 to the cause is merely a drop in the bucket. However, if you gather a dozen or so friends and colleagues and you each give $5,000, just imagine how soon that same bucket will overflow.

As professionals in this field, we know of many organizations that could do so much with just a bit of extra funding. Now is the perfect opportunity for you to practice what you preach. By using your own money and getting friends and/or family involved, you will be doing something personally, instead of just coaching from the sidelines.

A Giving Circle is one of the simplest ways to get involved. Just think about all the different groups and social occasions you will be involved in this season. Still wondering if Giving Circles are a solution for you? Here are a few quick benefits of Giving Circles that may help you decide:

  1. Giving Circles can connect you with the people and groups that share your philanthropic interests and ideas.
  2. It allows you to have an impact on a large cause that is important to you, which you may not be able to affect on your own.
  3. Having many concerned individuals who are willing to contribute financially gives a larger, louder voice to any issue.
  4. It is an opportunity to for you to be a philanthropist.
  5. Since we all belong to at least one group, committee, organization or board, there are many opportunities to develop a Giving Circle group. From large gatherings like weddings or bar mitzvahs to smaller events like golf outings or beach parties, you will be in contact with hundreds of people this summer.

As you attend your events and reunions over the next couple of months, think about all the good that could be done if all the people at just one party or meeting each gave a little to help one cause. Giving Circles are a smart way to help the world even if you do not have much to give.

Dr. M. Starita Boyce Ansari is president and chief change officer of MSB Philanthropy Advisors LLC, a team of social justice specialists dedicated to advancing responsive philanthropy. You can visit her website at