Women's Giving Circle
At the end of the 20th century, thanks to increased income and education, women had capacity like never before. They had gained control over their finances and, consequently, their philanthropy.
The result was the emergence of women’s giving circles. Across the country, women gathered to discuss how they could make their communities better through collective philanthropy. The circles gave members the opportunity to make a greater impact while spending time with friends and learning more about community needs.
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque created its Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) in 2007. Since then, it has grown to more than 100 members strong with an endowment of over $130,000. It is comprised of women of all ages and incomes connected by a common commitment to improve their community by giving back.
Studies show that donors who participate in giving circles give more strategically and are more knowledgeable about their communities. The WGC is no exception. Members gather to learn about community challenges and area nonprofits—and then use this knowledge to inform their grantmaking. Over the past five years, the WGC has given $24,000 in 13 grants to local programs working to remove barriers to opportunity and create bridges to self-sufficiency. In 2012, they also provided meals for the Circles Initiative, supplied furniture to a family in Dubuque’s Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, and gave winter clothing to residents of the Elm Street Residential Corrections Facility.
“Together we care, we share and we significantly impact the important needs in our Dubuque community,” says Jeanne Lauritsen, founding WGC leader. “We are women of all ages, from all walks of life with a vision for our community’s future.”