Current Focus
Past Topics
Giving & Philanthropy

The Seacoast Women's Giving Circle was founded in April 2006 by a group of local women eager to use their skills and resources to address critical issues facing the Seacoast community.

Giving & Philanthropy.

Charitable giving has a long tradition in this country and is often noted as a distinct aspect of our culture, yet many Giving Circle members, particularly those of us without a family tradition of philanthropy, have felt unsure and full of questions in this unfamiliar terrain. Why is giving important? How much should we give? Is it better to give of time or resources or both? We've wondered together how best to teach our children to be compassionate, community-minded and generous individuals. And, we've compared notes on how our views on giving were shaped by our own family legacy of caring for others and our experiences as women.

Several area experts joined our conversations over the last few years and we are grateful for the ideas and knowledge they shared. Speakers have included: Maryellen Burke of The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Marianne Jones and Jill Schiffman of The Women's Fund of New Hampshire, Peter Lamb of The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Amy Ellsworth of The Philanthropic Initiative.

We've distilled the many readings and websites we've studied on the topic to a short list we highly recommend. We'd welcome additional suggestions or reactions to these selections.

  • How can I raise community minded children?
    Growing Up Giving: A Workbook for Young People from The Seattle Foundation is a fantastic and accessible resource for parents of young children and adolescents.
  • How much of my income should I give to charity?
    Americans on average give away between 2.5 and 4.5 percent of their income to charity. Check out this worksheet from Tracy Gary author of Inspired Philanthropy to help find your own answers.
  • How should I pick organizations or issues to support?
    Begin with a conversation as a family about your values and interests. Do you care most about tolerance, self-reliance or perhaps creativity? What are your interests? Caring for the environment, social justice or perhaps wellness and preventative care? One of the joys of giving is finding your own vision for a better world and then using your resources to start making that dream a reality. This appealing workbook provides simple exercises you can do with a friend, a spouse or your entire family that are interesting and inspiring.
    Giving with Goals: a workbook for donors who want to give strategically
  • Where can I learn about community issues before deciding how to give?
    The Neighborhood Funders Group supports a wonderful website SmartLink: Where Donors go for Great Ideas that features compelling donor stories and breaks down complex community issues revealing how a donor or volunteer can find concrete ways to make a difference.
  • Where can I read more about philanthropy to get inspired?
    Over the last several years, the Seacoast Women's Giving Circle members have enjoyed reading pieces of literature and essays about philanthropy to deepen our discussions about the role of philanthropy in our lives and in society. We encourage you to visit the resource library at the Project on Civic Reflection website as you ponder the value and complexity of giving. You can search for readings that address specific topics or themes and more.
Seacoast Women's Giving Circle Giving & Philanthropy

"Money alone does not garner the quality of life we all want. Your approach to learning about community issues—and to engage with and bring attention to critical community challenges and opportunities is key. You are role models—not only with your families and social circles—but in the broader community. You let others know that engagement and action is possible. By doing what you do, where you combine strategy and passion, you are creating important muscle memory for any issue our community faces."
- Celina Adams
Chief Philanthropic Officer
Thomas W. Haas Foundation