by Angel McNeil, Contributing Writer
Have you ever really wondered what kind of impact you have if you worked together with a group of friends or other young philanthropists and created a project based on an area of need? Capital Cause, one of the leading millennial civic engagement organizations based in Washington, DC, answered that question by organizing Giving Circles Projects (GCP).
The GCP idea, which is in its 3rd cycle, brings together 5-7 young philanthropists to fundraise or give their time towards an organization in the DC area. Giving Circles Projects are differentiated into two categories: Capital and Cause. Capital GCPs work to raise funds for a specific project while Cause GCPs tend to focus more on providing time and talents towards a cause. I spoke with Darla Bunting, Capital Director, and Karla Morrison, Deputy Cause Director, to share what Giving Circles Projects are and how they will impact communities.
Q: Can you share your role in Giving Circles Projects (GCPs)
Darla: I am the Capital Director which means I lead the grant review process, managing the planning team as well as creating the curriculum that teams will follow for these projects. It includes one-on-one classes and orientation to make sure that teams are successful in fundraising or providing their time.
Karla: I am the Deputy Cause Director. I focus more on supporting the two skills and service based projects for this cycle of GCPs.
Q: If someone asked you what a Giving Circles Project was, how would you describe it?
Darla: [I would say] They are short term, high impact service projects where young philanthropists come together to give their finances or skills to a non-profit in the community.
Karla: There is Men Who Mentor where 7 members are working to recruit 50 black men to mentor 50 black boys in 50 days. There is Food ASAP, which is working to address the food deserts in Ward 7. 6 members will work to figure how to help 70,000 residents who share just 2 grocery stores. The Homeless Children Playtime Project will benefit from funds raised to send 3 children to sleepaway summer camp in Maryland. The Institute for Student Health will benefit from being able to work with 25 students and their families on summer project of growing, cooking, and creating healthy meal options in the Mt.Pleasent/Columbia Heights neighborhood. Finally, Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School will benefit from the fundraising efforts to purchase laptops and a subscription to the website Reading A to Z to extend their blended learning program.
Q: We have readers all over the country. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a GCP in their community?
Darla: Reach out to our Chairwoman, Kezia Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out how it can be started. The model is really just getting your friends together and finding a cause that you are passionate about. Then contact a non-profit to ask them what they need whether it is using their skills or fundraising.
Karla: This is also an opportunity to engage with people who have similar missions and goals. You can build relationships by reaching out to people who may be interested in joining a project and making a change.
The Capital Cause Giving Circles Project is just one shining example of how giving back can be done easily and effectively. Learn more about Capital Cause’s Giving Circles Project.