The Pittsburgh Foundation

Giving Circles

Donor Dwight Mathis (left) listens as Braddock resident Shiane Prunty shares her ideas about programs that are most needed for her community.
Donor Dwight Mathis (left) listens as Braddock resident Shiane Prunty shares her ideas about programs that are most needed for her community.

Coupling like-minded donors with Foundation expertise yields powerful results.

Donors often tell us they wish they could give more to - and learn more about - the issues they care about most. Giving Circles provide that opportunity. Center for Philanthropy Giving Circles provide a structured learning program for an average group of 20 donors who are all interested in a specific community issue. Over a four-month period, each Giving Circle meets with experts on issues and explores them in affected communities. Every Giving Circle donor contributes funds to a common giving pool, which is then matched by the Foundation.

Giving Circle members develop requests for proposals and agree on how to distribute resources through lively debate and thoughtful discussion. As rewarding as it is engaging, the Giving Circle process embeds donors in the rigorous and exciting process that grantmakers are involved in daily.

Giving Circles in the News

Children's Giving Circle involves kids in hands-on philanthropy: The children’s giving circle, which was launched by The Pittsburgh Foundation to involve teens and preteens in philanthropy, brought together 12 participants who each commit $1,250 and agreed to visit three nonprofit organizations that help people obtain basic services such as food and shelter, and then decide as a group how to allocate their pooled resources. Providing children with experience helping people in need was a key goal, said Yvonne Maher, senior vice president, development and donor services for the Pittsburgh Foundation. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 9, 2016

Google-led group set to invest $60,000 in five Pittsburgh nonprofits. The concept of a giving circle was introduced to the Google group by the Pittsburgh Foundation, which approached the California search engine giant as part of ongoing efforts. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 12, 2014

'Giving circles' growing as new form of Pittsburgh philanthropy. The donation model is going beyond the kitchen table, gathering gravitas and involvement from foundations. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 3, 2013

Giving Circles bring donors together: a video case study

Giving Circles are a growing trend in philanthropy because they unite like-minded donors with the resources and expertise of Foundation staff. Our donors’ passion and interests combined with expertise found at The Pittsburgh Foundation results in greater involvement and greater benefits to our community.