Giving Circles

The Rhode Island Foundation seeks up to six informed and engaged community leaders who are interested in forming, leading, and facilitating small groups of peer networks organized around charitable giving.

The Foundation encourages individuals to work together to meet philanthropic goals.Please note: The application deadline has passed.

Giving circles are groups of people who pool their donations and decide together how to distribute them. Groups typically have a shared interest or connection, but it’s not required. Individual giving circles will have the ability to set their own member requirements and giving levels. Each circle will identify its own needs and design the appropriate goals and structure. This initiative is meant to inspire philanthropy throughout the community and to provide an opportunity for groups of people that might not otherwise come together around a fundraising effort – to do just that. It is not about giving to the Rhode Island Foundation. Likewise, the Rhode Island Foundation will not solicit gifts for your giving circle.

Applicants are expected to:

  • Commit up to one hour per week for 12 months
  • Identify potential members of their giving circle
  • Work with the members to establish parameters and norms
  • Raise dollars
  • Plan a minimum of three meetings with the established giving circle over 12 months
  • Provide facilitation and leadership within the group to keep members active and engaged
  • Promote the concepts of philanthropy and charitable giving 
  • Handle the transfer of funds from circle members to the chosen recipients over 12 months
  • Contribute to Rhode Island Foundation efforts to learn from our inaugural giving circle activities. This may include participating in an interview, discussion with other giving circle leaders, completing online survey, etc. 

The Foundation will provide:

  • $1:$1 match (up to $5,000) for donations collectively by the group made to 501(c)3 organizations serving Rhode Island (Please note: The Rhode Island Foundation believes that our community can best be served by charitable organizations that both reflect and serve the diversity of our community. We do not award grants to applicants or for programs that have a policy that discriminates against any person or group in any way that is either unlawful or inconsistent with the mission or values of the Foundation.)
  • Guidance to establish and facilitate a giving circle
  • A giving circle “tool-kit” with communication templates and information on philanthropy and best practices
  • Philanthropic expertise from Foundation staff
  • Meeting space and refreshments for giving circle meetings


Please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

To apply

To submit a proposal, please complete this online application by January 31. In the application, we ask you to:

  • Describe your leadership experience, charitable interests, and/or background
  • Describe stakeholders you plan to engage to be members of the giving circle
  • Explain your overall vision for the giving circle
  • Describe the resources you would need to be successful
  • Sketch out a 12 month timeline
Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
  1. Leadership: A capable and dynamic leader(s) who has the commitment, capacity, and credibility to deliver on the above expectations.
  2. Membership: This proposal engages a unique and important set of stakeholders that share a common interest or cause (i.e. professional associations, college sorority, neighborhood associations, affinity groups etc.)
  3. Feasibility: The proposed plan seems reasonable given the stakeholders and available resources.
  4. Focus: This proposal suggests a shared focus and/or interest among its stakeholders and demonstrates a compelling vision for the aims of the giving circle.
  5. Inclusion: The proposal encourages membership that is representative of the state’s diverse population. 
Applications are due January 31, 2017.

Giving circle resources

Inside Philanthropy
Forget the Gala. Giving Circles Are Where It's At for Women Raising Money

Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers
The Impact of Giving Together: Giving Circles’ Influence on Members’ Philanthropic and Civic Behaviors, Knowledge, and Attitudes
Hosting a Giving Circle: The Benefits and Challenges of Giving Together

Giving Together: A National Scan of Giving Circles and Shared Giving

The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers
Growing Philanthropy Through Giving Circles: Lessons Learned from Start Up to Grantmaking

 Stanford Social Innovation Review
Giving 2.0: Getting Together to Give


LocationOne Union Station
Providence, RI 02903


(401) 274-4564

E-News Sign Up