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Too often, people think that philanthropy isn’t for them. It’s the preserve of foundations, a wealthy few. And that perception—and the gap—has only gotten wider. In the United States, the percentage of giving by millionaires continues to rise and the overall share of households donating to charity has steadily fallen. (This isn’t to say that typical households aren’t giving: There was a significant increase in small donations in 2020!)
This is a concern because large donations from wealthy individuals or foundations are oftentimes based on one, single vision of change—by definition, it is not inclusive. That’s why, at the Elevate Prize Foundation, we’re always looking for ways of making giving more inclusive, because money alone will not make progress happen. It takes people: a whole community determined to act and make a difference.
Thanks to an introduction from MIT Solve, we connected with Philanthropy Together, whose mission is to democratize and diversify philanthropy through the power of giving circles. In partnership with Philanthropy Together, we launched Elevate Giving, a new initiative rooted in community-based philanthropy that cultures around the world have used for centuries: giving circles.
A giving circle brings like-minded people together to provide focused, strategic support to organizations who might be overlooked by other kinds of philanthropy. Elevate Giving participants pool their time and money, and then decide together where to direct their collective funding—which the Elevate Prize Foundation will match up to a total of US $75,000 across all participants—to make the most impact.
A 2018 study by the Collective Giving Research Group suggests that giving circles are at the forefront of the movement to democratize philanthropy, with new giving circle members showing much greater diversity in terms of age, income, gender, and race.
Elevate Giving is an opportunity to make your voice heard and back up your convictions with meaningful funding. Together we can thoughtfully, proactively drive change—and make a real, practical difference.
Inspired by our first Catalyst Award winner, Trevor Noah and his foundation, our first Elevate Giving circles will focus on education. We’ll be learning about organizations innovating every day to empower the next generation to build a more equitable and tolerant world, and each circle will choose an organization to support through collective giving to help them make even more impact.
Elevate Giving experiences start June 26. Spots will fill up quickly, so sign up now to join us in powering change.