How does a nonprofit apply for funding from the Seacoast Women's Giving Circle?
Each year, Giving Circle members select one specific community issue on which to focus and one organization to receive the group's annual gift through a competitive application process. After learning about the cycle's topic in depth, the Giving Circle formulates a Request For Proposal and invites grant applicants from eligible nonprofit organizations. Please check our website in mid-December to download the current grant application and guidelines. We do not provide funding outside of our annual grant cycle.
To be eligible for our grant, organizations must address the current topic and serve residents in any of the following Seacoast towns of New Hampshire and Maine: Seabrook, Hampton, Hampton Falls, North Hampton, Rye, Portsmouth, New Castle, and Kittery.
What is the Seacoast Women's Giving Circle?
The Seacoast Women's Giving Circle was founded in April 2006 by a group of women eager to use their skills and resources to address critical issues facing the Seacoast community. Members contribute a minimum of $200 annually and participate in volunteer service projects in the community. Over the course of the year, members educate themselves about community issues, identify a specific social cause on which to focus, and select one nonprofit organization to receive the Giving Circle's annual gift.
The Seacoast Women's Giving Circle is part of a growing national trend. According to Giving Together a report by New Ventures in Philanthropy, giving circles nationwide boast almost 12,000 members and have poured more than $100 million into communities.
What is the Seacoast Women's Giving Circle's mission?
The Seacoast Women's Giving Circle is committed to improving the quality of life in the region through collective giving and grassroots action. Our goals are to:
Educate members—through our own research and input from area leaders about local issues and groups that support the welfare of our community;
Invest funds annually in a nonprofit organization active on the Seacoast and galvanize support for and awareness of that organization;
Initiate opportunities for our members and their families to volunteer in the community.
Can I join the group?
Yes. We welcome new Giving Circle members. Members contribute a minimum of $200 to the annual nonprofit grant recipient(s) and participate in our three-part mission: Learn, Give, Act. To learn more, please click on membership.
How does the group select volunteer service projects?
The Giving Circle's Act Committee is charged with identifying, selecting and planning our volunteer projects. Currently, we engage in three projects per year. These projects often support current and past issues targeted by the Giving Circle. For example, we revisited our giving issue from our 6th cycle, substance abuse, by initiating a holiday drive during our 7th cycle for individuals and families whose lives have been affected by substance abuse.
The Giving Circle's volunteer projects are suggested by members and identified through existing community resources such as the United Way's Volunteer Action Center. We also learn of organizations and volunteer service projects through our grant proposal process and issue research. If you have suggestions for potential volunteer opportunities for the Giving Circle, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does the group select guest speakers?
The Giving Circle hosts guest speakers who educate the group about our current topic of interest. To identify these presenters, members of the Giving Circle's Learn committee contact community and government leaders, and local nonprofit organizations.
What types of issues are supported by the Seacoast Women's Giving Circle?
The Giving Circle selects a community issue to support each year based on the members' personal interests and on recommendations from community leaders who are attuned to the specific needs of the Seacoast. Topics are selected by member vote each spring.
How can I support the organizations selected by the Giving Circle?
The Seacoast Women's Giving Circle is not a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization. Rather, it is a volunteer group that galvanizes financial and volunteer support for specific organizations and issues in the community. Therefore, 100% of member donations go to the nonprofit grant winner each year.
If you would like to support our work in the community, please donate funds or volunteer your services directly to our annual nonprofit gift recipients. In addition, the Giving Circle has a Member category that provides an opportunity for women to be more involved in our group's work. For more information, visit the About Us section.