An energizing discussion on increasing the impact of giving to nonprofits with two remarkable guests: Kim Tarnopolski and Laurie Richter, who share insights into the world of giving circles and group philanthropy. Kim Tarnopolski, the Chief Community Builder of 100 Plus Women Who Care Valley of the Sun, shares her inspirational journey from a 20-year career as an HR executive to becoming deeply involved in philanthropy. She emphasizes the inclusivity of giving circles, saying, “Anybody can be a philanthropist. You don’t have to give $1,000,000 to be a philanthropist.” Laurie Richter, Co-founder of 100 Who Care Alliance, hailing from Chicago, reflects on her transition into philanthropy after retirement and her role in founding a giving circle in North Suburban Chicago, now in its 11th year. She adds, “It’s just a way of collecting resources and pooling resources to have a bigger impact.”
The conversation centers on demystifying the concept of giving circles. Kim shares that giving circles bring proactive giving into focus by empowering members to collectively decide where to allocate funds. Laurie describes giving circles as “getting a group of people together so that they can pull their resources to have a bigger impact than they could have on their own.” Both highlight the transformative effect of turning reactive giving into a more intentional and impactful process.
Kim and Laurie share the remarkable results achieved by their giving circles. Kim’s group in Phoenix, with three sister groups, donated close to $1.2 million to local charities over nine years. Laurie’s suburban Chicago circle raises around $17,000 to $18,000 each quarter, making a significant difference for local nonprofits. Kim points out, “We’re delivering $10,000 plus every quarter, and the beauty of it is we do that in one hour.” Laurie adds, “It’s a way of collecting resources and pooling resources to have a bigger impact.”
When discussing ways to increase membership and attendance in giving circles, Laurie suggests hosting separate happy hour events to foster social connections and engage potential members outside official meetings. Kim emphasizes the importance of creating an energetic atmosphere at events and leveraging the enthusiasm of existing members to attract new participants. She says, “It’s the energy that you create at your event.”
To find or start giving circles, Kim and Laurie recommend visiting the websites of organizations like 100 Who Care Alliance or Philanthropy Together. They encourage individuals to start their own circles if none exist in their area, offering resources and support to newcomers. Lori emphasizes, “You can play with this model 100 different ways and make it work for the universe that you’re in.”
Their passion for community-led giving is evident throughout the episode and will inspire you to explore and join the world of giving circles.