Virginia Community Foundation draws young professionals with giving circle

Contrary to popular belief, wealthy, older donors don’t have the market cornered when it comes to philanthropy.

The Northern Virginia Community Foundation has found that out first hand, with its Future Fund, a giving circle that focuses on young donors.

Using social media, happy hours, presentations to young professionals groups and a gala, the foundation recruited 50 members in three months and raised $50,000! The giving circle currently has almost 100 members, with the average member being 30 years old.

Future Fund donors donors will vote on which non-profits they want to receive the first grants from the fund after they visit the organizations and conduct interviews.

Members also get together for monthly presentations to learn about their community’s needs, as well as networking events and volunteer activities.

A Washington Post article about the Foundation’s new youth-centered fund quoted Katy Moore, director of member services for the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, as saying “I’ve worked with 550 community foundations … and this [young professionals giving circle] is something that is growing in popularity.”

The success of this initiative, and others like it across the country, shows that young people ARE interested in philanthropy, and have the potential to contribute greatly to the community.

Some may think they can’t contribute enough to make a visible difference, but this fund, with a sliding scale that allows members in their 20s to contribute $200 and members in their 30s to contribute $300, allows them to participate in the decision to grant thousands of dollars, without contributing that much themselves.

This giving circle also appeals to young people’s desire not to just write a check, but to make connections and have personal relationships with the organizations they’re helping and with each other.

Do you think that you or young professionals you know would be interested in such a fund right here in Centre County?

-Erin

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