Giving Circle Network

Giving Circle Network

The Giving Circle Network promotes the growth of giving circles and welcomes them as an important movement expanding philanthropy in our state. 

Giving circles pool funds, are generally hosted by a charitable organization such as a community foundation and offer a collaborative vehicle for individuals to give together.  Most giving circles are organized around a particular issue or area of interest and are a high engagement form of philanthropy with members participating in collective decision making and education activities.

In 2000, the Maryland Philanthropy Network received funding from the United Philanthropy Forum through their New Ventures in Philanthropy Project and over 20 local funders to start a region-wide effort called the Baltimore Giving Project.  The project’s goal was to promote organized philanthropy particularly among people who may not have considered themselves “philanthropists” in the traditional sense.  One strategy was to bring the concept of giving circles to our region.

Since then the Maryland Philanthropy Network has welcomed giving circles as members and supported the giving circle community at large by providing information, organizing and facilitating learning sessions and developing and distributing resources to grow and sustain giving circles in our region and across the country.




  • "The Impact of Giving Together" Giving circles have emerged over the last decade as a growing and significant philanthropic trend among donors of all wealth levels and backgrounds. This report finds that donors in giving circles give more, give more strategically, and are more engaged in their local communities.
  • "A Handbook for Giving Circle Hosts" This report highlights the relationship between giving circles and their host organizations. Included is a handbook of tools for giving circle host organizations, in particular, community foundations.
  • "More Giving Together: The Growth and Impact of Giving Circles and Shared Giving" This report finds that groups of people are getting together and giving together, and are an established philanthropic force that has raised $100 million to support diverse charitable causes.
  • "Giving Together: A National Scan of Giving Circles and Shared Giving" This report released in 2005 by the United Philanthropy Forum's New Ventures in Philanthropy Initiative, called Giving Together, reveals that giving circles in Greater Baltimore are a part of a growing national trend in philanthropy, pouring more than $44 million into communities nationwide since 2000.
  • "Growing Philanthropy Through Giving Circles: Lessons Learned from Start Up to Grantmaking" This report written by Tracey Rutnik and Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz at the Maryland Philanthropy Network in 2003 highlights how today's donors want an engaging philanthropic experience - and how despite the tight economy, donors are opening their checkbooks and their schedules to participate in giving circles.