Women’s Giving Circle Coming Soon

The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland will launch a women’s giving circle as part of the national Amplifier Jewish Giving Circle Incubator program. Federation development professional Joanne Van Ness Menashe and 36 other community leaders across North America will soon launch giving circles in their own communities.

Locally, Charlene Zidell has teamed up with Joanne to begin planning for a Women’s Jewish Giving Circle here in Portland. In early October they attended a powerful half day program focusing on women’s giving and creating impact with money sponsored by the Oregon Community Foundation.

Joanne has been accepted into a national fundraising cohort Amplifier’s Jewish Giving Circle Incubator program, funded by the Natan Fund in New York. Joanne attended a national training session Oct. 18-19.

In a giving circle members pool their charitable contributions and decide together where the pooled funds should go. Giving circles are becoming increasingly popular among younger and other previously underrepresented donors (e.g. women, racial and ethnic minorities). Giving circles are an ideal mechanism for people who want to engage with their philanthropy in a hands-on way, especially within a peer community.

“Our plan is to start out with a teaching component on Intergenerational Philanthropy with a focus on growing Jewish philanthropists; with specific learning experiences for the younger members,” says Joanne. “The context will be giving through Jewish values with relevant lessons and discussions on the Jewish tradition/values of helping others and ‘giving to repair the world.’ We will also have examples and stories from our older generations about how their philanthropy has made a difference for Jewish causes.”

For its first year, the women’s giving circle is expecting to focus on health and wellness. A possible theme is “Your Jewish Genes” with four weeks of education and teaching Jewish philanthropy and four weeks for teaching relevant health issues, reviewing current research, making site visits, etc.

“We are constantly striving for new ways to excite and engage donors; this hands-on style, I believe, will appeal to our younger generations while giving our older donors an opportunity to share, teach and mentor,” says Joanne.

Women of all ages interested in participating in the giving circle should contact Joanne at 503-892-3015 or joanne@jewishportland.org or visit jewishportland.org/wp.

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