In 2007, five women — Shirley King, Paula Carter, Ellen Bevan, Amy Irish and Alyce Van Patten — envisioned the power of women supporting women through hands-on philanthropy, and the Rochester Women's Giving Circle was born. Within several months there were 29 members, and in 2008, they awarded $33,500 in grants to six local organizations. The Giving Circle operates under the umbrella of the Community Foundation.
With its grants, the Giving Circle supports programs and organizations in Monroe County that help women and girls gain the necessary education, training, and skills that lead to economic independence.
The Giving Circle also provides members with opportunities to understand the power of philanthropy as a vehicle for social change and to engage in thoughtful and systematic grantmaking, investing in the future of women and girls in our community. Members choose their own level of involvement.
Since the Giving Circle was founded, membership and grant awards have grown steadily. The 100th member joined in 2012, and there are currently more than 170 members. Every member contributes a minimum of $1,000 annually, which goes directly to grants, as well as a $50 administrative fee. Our philosophy is that we distribute 100 percent of our grant dollars every year so member contributions have an immediate impact in the community.
In 10 years, this group of women has granted more than $1.1 million. More than 4,300 low-income women and girls have been directly helped through training, education, and services provided by the programs the Giving Circle has supported.
Through its grantmaking process, the Giving Circle has seen the challenges of keeping girls in school, helping them graduate from high school, and providing women with the skills and competencies to get a job that pays a living wage. The Giving Circle continually looks for innovative ways to deliver greater benefits to women and girls in our community. For example, in 2015, our “Venture-Up” Grant committed $50,000 a year for two years to Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection for wrap-around support and services to two groups of 20 at-risk female graduates from the Rochester City School District, who were enrolled in a certificate, AAS, or skilled apprenticeship program.
To learn more about the Rochester Women's Giving Circle, visit therwgc.org or get in contact with one of the members.
You are invited to become a member of the Rochester Women's Giving Circle. As a member, you will join a growing group of dynamic, committed women making a difference in our community through social investment.
Annual dues are a minimum $1,000, plus $50 towards operating expenses. To join, please download and complete this form and mail it in with your membership dues.
As an all-volunteer organization with virtually no overhead, almost 100 percent of members' contributions go directly to grants for women and girls, maximizing the impact of members’ dollars.
The Giving Circle welcomes anyone who shares our passion for creating opportunities for women and girls to reach their full potential, and invite you to make a donation of any amount.
If you would like to contribute to the Giving Circle, please contact us. If you make a gift in honor of someone, your gift will be acknowledged to that individual.
The Giving Circle is led by a Steering Committee comprised of co-chairs and chairs of the following five standing committees:
Members are encouraged to participate on standing committees, combining their talents, energy, and passion to accelerate the work of the Giving Circle.
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