Collective Giving

In collective giving, also known as giving circles, like-minded people come together to support shared causes.

The Women’s Giving Alliance (WGA) is a giving circle supporting women and girls in Northeast Florida.

Together, we as Members pool our resources and decide collectively where, when and how to award grants. Giving as a group, we achieve a greater impact than we might alone. Collective giving offers a number of benefits including a higher level of engagement, the benefit of diverse perspectives, social connectivity and the ability to make significant contributions to several different organizations.

Membership Ratifying Grants

How It Works

Collective giving can be thought of as three key steps: donate, vote and grant. 

Step #1: Donate

Every year, $1,100 of each Member’s annual $1,500 contribution goes to the current grants pool, while $100 goes to future grant pools through WGA’s Endowment. In addition, Members or friends of WGA (including men, foundations, corporations, organizations, etc.) frequently make additional donations to increase the funds available for the current year grants pool and/or strategic projects.

Step #2: Vote

With “one Member, one vote”, Members ratify proposed grants to area nonprofits annually each spring.

Step #3: Grant

Funding begins July 1 and usually runs for two years, although sometimes gifts are for shorter periods. WGA stays in touch with agencies throughout the grant period to better understand how to transform the lives of women and girls in Northeast Florida.

collective giving infographic

Benefits of Collective Giving

There are many benefits to collective giving. In addition to multiplying one’s individual gift to achieve a greater impact, collective giving offers other advantages:

  • A higher level of engagement – People support what they help build. As Members decide how to distribute monies and are otherwise involved in the grantmaking process, they become more attuned to community needs and more invested in outcomes.
  • Deeper understanding of issues – Educational events and advocacy opportunities build knowledge, helping you make more informed decisions.
  • Independence – Giving circles maintain independence by not affiliating with any single nonprofit. Members are free to explore new opportunities and, at times, take a venture capitalist or “incubator” approach.
  • Strategic philanthropists – Members learn how to achieve significant change together.
  • Social connectivity – Members can choose to volunteer and participate in events together, thereby actively building their community.

Women United To Give Across the World

The women’s collective giving movement began in the 1990’s, and advanced considerably when Colleen Willoughby of Seattle founded the Washington Women’s Fund in 1995. Others soon followed suit, including WGA in 2001. Today, WGA is one of more than 200 women’s giving groups in the United States and abroad. While acting locally, all of these collective giving organizations pool women’s contributions, make grants to worthy organizations and encourage members to become strategic philanthropists.

WGA is a proud member of both Philanos, a global organization, and the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance. WGA Members benefit from access to both these membership organizations. WGA Members often serve in leadership positions within these networks and have hosted and/or participated in their conferences.

WGA members at a Philanos conference


Philanos (formerly Catalist and originally the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network (WCGN)) is a network of more than 80 collective giving grantmaking groups–including WGA–in the United States, Australia, and England representing more than 18,000 women. Since 1995, the organizations in Philanos have granted more than $176 million into their respective communities.

Philanos supports the creation, development and expansion of women’s collective giving through informed grantmaking. It provides a national voice to the collective giving movement and accelerates the power of its independent affiliate organizations. A large contingent of WGA Members typically travel to Philanos conferences and all Members are invited to be part of these energizing events.

Florida Women's Funding Alliance (FWFA)

Through The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, WGA helped to found the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance, an affinity group of the Florida Philanthropic Network. FWFA and its members envision a Florida where women and girls thrive.

Actively supported by WGA and other organizations, FWFA has released three groundbreaking reports on The Status of Women in Florida, conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) in Washington, D.C. in partnership with FPN and the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance (FWFA.) They later released similar reports on the Status of Girls in Florida.

In Her Own Words

Stephanie Cost

“Working together has exponentially more impact than doing anything on our own.” 

– Stephanie Cost, Legacy Member and past Steering Committee Member

Barbara Harrell

“The power of collective giving has a special place in my overall giving strategy. WGA, with its research, collective wisdom and expertise is able to leverage my financial contribution to its maximum potential for women and girls in northeast Florida – and I think that delivers a bigger impact over time.”

– Barbara Harrell, past WGA President

“I joined WGA years ago and still feel highly supportive of collective giving. WGA has such a great process of research; as an individual you can never do all the extensive evaluation that WGA does. Also, a larger amount of money can really make a difference to an agency.”

– Carol Weldon, Legacy Member, Nassau County

“Philanthropy used to imply a flashy name and a big check. Today philanthropy involves many checks and many donors committed to working together to change lives and communities…”

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