Rochester Women’s Giving Circle

How We Got Started

In 2007, five women envisioned the power of women supporting women through collective giving realizing that together more money can be granted than anyone alone can likely give. The Rochester Women’s Giving Circle was born. From that vision this Giving Circle has grown into a reality now 15+ years old with currently more than 160 members.

Our Mission

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, to engage in thoughtful and systematic grantmaking and to invest in the future of women and girls in our community. Members choose their own level of involvement in the activities and committees of the Giving Circle.

Our Impact

Since the Giving Circle was founded, membership and grant awards have grown steadily. There are currently more than 160 members. Every member makes an annual financial contribution which goes directly to grants. A $50 administrative fee is collected annually from each member as well. 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 15 years, this group of women has granted more than $2 million. Thousands of 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. In addition to our annual grantmaking practices, we’ve awarded multi-year strategic grants of $100,000 to fund pilot and capacity building projects. One program focused on providing wrap-around support services for female Rochester City School District graduates enrolled in post-secondary education. The other is a pilot vocational education program to assist previously incarcerated women obtain and successfully sustain employment.

To learn more about the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle, visit or contact 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.


New members to the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle are welcomed throughout the calendar year. As a member, you will join a growing group of dynamic committed women making a difference in our community through investments in support of women and girls.

There are two options for Annual membership financial contribution:

Sustainer is an annual contribution of $1050 or more. Catalyst is an Annual contribution of $450 -$1049.

The monies collected in each calendar year become the amount available for Grants the following spring. Our collective giving is dependent on annual membership financial contributions and any other monetary gifts the RWGC receives. $50 of each contribution supports operating expenses. The remainder of every membership financial contribution goes directly to grants for women and girls, maximizing the impact of members’ dollars. The entire amount is tax-deductible.

To join, please download and complete this form and mail it in with your first annual membership financial contribution. If you are making your contribution by credit card online through the RACF, please fill out and send in the membership form so that we can welcome you to the RWGC and keep you informed of the Circle’s news and events. 


The Giving Circle welcomes anyone who shares our passion for creating opportunities for women and girls to reach their full potential to contribute of any amount to The Rochester Women’s Giving Circle. Contributions can be identified as a gift in honor of or in memory of someone.

If you would like to contribute to the Giving Circle, please email If you make a gift in honor of someone, your gift will be acknowledged to that individual.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Giving Circle is guided by a Leadership Team comprised of co-chairs and chairs of the following six standing committees:

  • Grantmaking
  • Strategic Grantmaking
  • Partner
  • Communications
  • Membership
  • Education

Members are encouraged to participate on standing committees, combining their talents, energy, and passion to accelerate the work of the Giving Circle.

The Rochester Women’s Giving Circle considers and funds programs that help women and girls who are on the path to achieving economic independence. Programs that serve males and females are eligible as long as Giving Circle funds are directed to the women and/or girls in the program. Organizations must be in and serve women and girls in Monroe County.

The Giving Circle seeks to support programs that provide the following:

  • Education and training;
  • Money management and financial literacy skills;
  • Life skills and job-readiness skills;
  • Leadership opportunities for women and girls;
  • Mentoring programs for girls; and
  • Put women to work.

For more information about the Giving Circle’s grant criteria and annual grant cycle, click here.