Women of all ages and backgrounds who want to improve and enrich the lives of women and girls in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills have a new opportunity to learn about and address community issues through the Women’s Giving Circle at the Connecticut Community Foundation.

“Giving circles are appealing because they offer camaraderie,” said Kathy Bower, Foundation trustee and chair of the Women’s Giving Circle.

A giving circle is a type of group philanthropy where individual donors pool their donations with others, then make a collective decision about which charities, projects or areas of interest to support. Giving circles typically focus on an issue area or geographic region and increase the impact a single donor can make. They also offer an educational component as donors learn about and discuss issues, and decide together where the funds should be given.

Over the past four decades, women’s influence on giving decisions has increased, as have the number of giving circles—especially those geared toward helping women and girls.

“We wanted to respond to this trend and bring together multi-generational women of different backgrounds to work together to become change agents in our community,” said Bower.

A $500 contribution entitles members to participate in Women’s Giving Circle activities and events, and to cast a vote at an annual meeting to decide how the pooled funds should be granted to local organizations. In addition to individual members, groups are welcome to join with a collective $500 contribution, with each group entitled to a single vote.

“As a mother of three teenage girls, I’m excited about being a part of the Women’s Giving Circle and also involving my daughters,” said Bower. “Joining together with like-minded women, we’ll learn about issues affecting women and girls in our region, how to evaluate programs, collaborate with others and make grantmaking decisions.”

The Foundation will hold information sessions this summer in these towns for those who want to learn more:

  • July 13, 5:30-7:00 p.m.: 400 South Street, Middlebury
  • July 17, 5:30-7:00 p.m.: 99 Pond View Drive, Southbury
  • August 10, 5:30-7:00 p.m.: Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens, 1 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot

“It’s an exciting time to join the Women’s Giving Circle. Our first members will help shape the structure and set up the model going forward,” said Bower.

For details or to sign up for an info session or to learn more about or join the Women’s Giving Circle, visit http://bit.ly/2v4GfLL or contact Mark Berardi at mberardi@conncf.org or 203-753-1315 x110.