“Compromise Is Key” & Other Takeaways from our Fellowship Alumni Giving Circle

Our inaugural Fellowship Alumni Giving Circle met in the fall of 2017. Each member of the group – all alumni of the Tribe 12 Fellowship – put money into a pot and together they decide where to allocate the funds. We used Amplifier‘s Giving Circle curriculum to lead 15 past Fellows through four weeks of group discussions about shared values and Jewish learning. The 2017 Tribe 12 Fellowship Alumni Giving Circle gift was given to The People’s Paper Co-Op! 

Having recently been a part of the Tribe 12 Giving Circle, Fellowship Alumni Polly Edelstein reflects on what she learned.


1. There are so many Jewish folks in their 20s and 30s who are deeply passionate about philanthropy.


Now this wasn’t necessarily a huge surprise to me because people in the so often maligned millennial generation are philanthropic, giving, charitable people who believe deeply in justice and equality. They just don’t have a good way to give or feel that they cannot give enough due to other constraints so why bother. There is also the issue of trust when it comes to people in this age range and the money they donate. Where are you spending my hard earned dollars I’m donating? Is it going towards providing clean water to people in developing countries or to your CEO’s annual raise? With a giving circle you have these philanthropic people who work together to harness their passion and collectively do the research to figure out what will make the most sense for the group’s philanthropic interests.


2. Compromise is key!


Our group had over a dozen people in it, all of who knew EXACTLY whom the money should go to. We worked as a group to figure out what values we wanted to guide our giving, what areas we wanted our chosen organization to impact, where we wanted the organization to be, what demographic we wanted it to be, and the financial impact and transparency. Once we narrowed down these things it was easier to bring suggested organizations to the table and choose one that fit all of the above chosen categories.


3. Impact is important.


Going back to the difference in philanthropy between this generation and generations past, millennials (both historically and this group in particular) want to know that their money is going to mean something for someone. Often larger organizations aren’t able to specifically say what kind of impact a gift will have unless it is a major gift. I remember in my fundraising class my professor said to us “90% of your time will be spent on 10% of your donors”. But what if a group in the “90%” gets together to have collective power and ends up looking a bit more like the 10%? Then we have the impact we want to have.


4. The model works.


I believe giving circles are the way of the future when it comes to philanthropy. It provides not only an avenue of how to give with impact but a sense of community to give with. I will forever be part of the 2017 Tribe 12 Giving Circle. So many people won’t have a clue what that means, but I will. Even if we only met a few times over a few weeks, we were a micro-community brought together by a common goal to do good. If that isn’t the model that a kajillion organizations out there aren’t trying to replicate, I don’t know what is.


5. This is a transferable model.


Coming together as a group, collectively deciding what you want, and then working towards a common goal can be done with any small community group or organization! I’m personally looking forward to trying to replicate the model with my new Theater Tribe through Tribe 12 (Please come! February 26, 6pm! It will be fun AND there will be snacks AND we’ll be going over how to create and mount a production for the 2018 Philly Fringe Fest) and you all will be the first to know if it works. In the meantime, I highly suggest starting or joining a giving circle or seeing how this model can work for whatever community group or organization you are part of!




Throughout the month of March we’re telling stories about our Tribe 12 Fellowship alumni. Follow along by searching the hashtag #tribe12fellowship on Facebook!

Interested in being part of our next Fellowship Alumni Giving Circle? Thinking about how you can make a contribution to Tribe 12? Message our CEO, Ross! 





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