(Photo via twitter.com/PhillyBPN)
Philadelphia Black Giving Circle (PBGC) is now accepting applications for its inaugural round of grants.
Led by a group of local civic and philanthropy professionals such as The Food Trust Director of External Affairs Dwayne Wharton, Friends of the Rail Park ED Kevin Dow and Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia Director of Learning and Knowledge Management Theresa Jackson, the collective giving group will distribute pooled funds to Black-led, Black-serving nonprofits in the region.
PBGC was inspired in part by a 2016 report by Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum that reported Black-led nonprofits tend to be smaller, have less access to grantmakers and have fewer cash reserves. Its mission: “to cultivate charitable giving and address the most pressing needs within the Black community.”
As of February, the giving circle’s goals were to gain 100 member-donors, raise a collective $20,000 and fund four nonprofits in its first year. Committee member Wharton said in an email that the giving circle had so far gained 50 members and raised $30,000.
“There’s great need in our city and we’re excited to see so many people looking to contribute collectively to address these needs,” he said. “The more members, and the more funds we raise collectively, the greater the impact we can have on the City of Philadelphia.”
The grants will provide general operating support exclusively for Philadelphia-based 501(c)(3) nonprofits — or nonprofits with 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors — with operating budgets of less than $1 million that are at least two years old. PBGC isn’t prescriptive about who should apply, though.
“We understand that there are many smaller organizations doing great community-based work but because they are smaller in size and oftentimes have less resources they get overlooked,” Wharton said. “We really want to connect with and support these organizations.”
Grant applications are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 13. Grant size will vary, but will generally will be worth up to $5,000, he said. Funding decisions will be made by voting-eligible donors to the giving circle — those who have donated at least $250 — and announced in February.
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P.S. No, you don’t need to be Black to contribute to the circle.
“Nationally, Giving Circles have emerged as a growing philanthropic trend among donors of all sizes and backgrounds,” said Allison Acevedo, PBGC chair and founding member, in a press release. “While our focus is on supporting Philadelphia’s black community, we welcome and encourage any individual, no matter ethnicity, to support our collective effort.”-30-
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