Collective giving is having a moment in Philly - Generocity Philly

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Nov. 15, 2016 12:57 pm

Collective giving is having a moment in Philly

The new 100 Guys Who Care joins the ranks of Philadelphia Public School Giving Circle, 100 Women Philadelphia and several other homegrown giving circles.

Joe Witthohn (left) at a 100 Guys Who Care meeting.

(Courtesy photo)

On the heels of Philadelphia Public School Giving Circle, yet another collaborative giving group has joined Philly’s ranks.

100 Guys Who Care, similar to 100 Women, Impact100, Judy Wicks’ Circle of Aunts and Uncles and Women for Social Innovation, is a national organization that donates members’ money to local nonprofits using a giving circle model. The organization currently has about 50 chapters, including in Toronto and Boston.

Joe Witthohn was inspired to start a Philadelphia chapter of 100 Guys Who Care after attending a meeting in Boston. He said that as soon as he returned home, he made some calls to his friends, and about 20 people responded saying they were interested.

“A lot more people said they were willing to help than I thought there would be,” he said. “I was amazed of all the people of all sorts that immediately said, ‘Yes, I’m in.’”

Here’s how it works:

  • The group meets four times a year for about an hour each meeting to discuss local charities.
  • Three members have five minutes each to pitch an organization they’re passionate about.
  • The suggested donation is $100 per member, though the amount is not mandatory.
  • The money is pooled and members vote on sending the funds to an organization “where [the] amount raised really does make an enormous difference,” Witthohn wrote in an email.

Witthohn said the collective giving makes fundraising more accessible to a lot of people.

“It’s easy,” he said. “It’s not like a regular fundraising event. It’s people reaching in their own pockets that just want to get together to do something that doesn’t take a lot of time.”

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The volunteer-run group has no administrative costs, so 100 percent of the donations go to the selected charity. The website, name badges and other costs are paid for out-of-pocket by members who can spare the funds.

Witthohn said he reached out to some of the existing women’s groups for guidance.

“The best advice I’ve received so far is to make sure to listen to the members [and] not to have three or four members try to take over and make all the decisions,” he said. “There are 100 guys that get to make the decisions … and no one feels left out.”

These types of groups with the collective giving model are popular because it’s a simple way for people to feel they’re making a positive impact.

Elizabeth Zack, founder of the 133-member Philadelphia chapter of 100 Women, said these types of groups with the collective giving model are popular because it’s a simple way for people to feel they’re making a positive impact. The gender split between groups isn’t about exclusion or negativity, but rather about “trying to do something good.”

“It seemed appealing to me to empower women,” she said. “Anyone who identifies as a woman would be welcome in the group.”

The Philadelphia chapter of 100 Guys currently has about 25 members and is primarily growing by word of mouth — it’s currently in its “discovery mode,” Witthohn said.

He said he sees the future of 100 Guys similar to that of the women’s groups: Several have grown so much that they’ve splintered off into the suburbs, including Bucks County, Lancaster, Chester County and MontCo.

A challenge is discovering which causes and organizations need funding in the first place.

“There are so many things that we’ve not aware of that we think the membership is going to open our eyes to,” he said. “There’s a lot of people in need and we’re a group of people that wants to find these needs and help in any way we can.”

Nonprofits, take note — there are a bunch of people out there who want to gift you their money.

The next meeting of 100 Guys Who Care is Jan. 10 at City Tavern.

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