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.

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Local 'Giving Circle' Launches and Honors CLF NH Office With First-Time Monetary Award

Portsmouth, NH (September 12, 2007): Following a growing national trend in grassroots philanthropy, a group of Portsmouth-area women have recently launched a 'giving circle' to pool donations for local non-profits in the region. On Saturday, September 15th, they will announce the selection of the Conservation Law Foundation's New Hampshire Advocacy Center as the recipient of their first gift of $7,000. The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) works on a range of urgent local issues including clean water, ocean conservation, and smart growth and has a forty-year track record of success in New England.

Seacoast Women's Giving Circle founder Anne Rouse Sudduth explains, "Our members were moved by CLF's Great Bay Initiative, in particular their effort to reduce sewage pollution into the Piscataqua River. Until CLF shined a spotlight on this issue, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was allowing the Portsmouth Sewage Treatment facility to violate the Clean Water Act. We were shocked to learn that Portsmouth's sewage treatment facility is woefully outdated, one of only 20 in the nation that treats waste only to a 'primary' level. Therefore, excess pollution, including nitrogen, enters the river and threatens the natural balance of the estuary."

After exploring the needs of the Portsmouth community, the Giving Circle selected the environment as its focus for 2007. "We cannot afford to ignore environmental issues." Sudduth noted, "They directly impact our health, our local economy, and the legacy we will leave our children. Even though we were initially daunted by the size and complexity of local environmental issues, we aimed to find an organization that could make a lasting impact with a grant of this size. The Conservation Law Foundation's (CLF) New Hampshire Advocacy Center fit our criteria perfectly."

CLF was gratified and honored to receive the grant from the Seacoast Women's Giving Circle. Melissa Hoffer, Vice President and Director of CLF's New Hampshire Advocacy Center commented, "The Giving Circle gift is a wonderful endorsement of CLF's legal advocacy to protect the Great Bay estuary. We've enjoyed collaborating with the group and have been inspired by the power of this new form of philanthropy."

Across the country, groups of friends getting together and giving together are changing the definition of a philanthropist. According to New Ventures in Philanthropy's 2007 report, Giving Together, there is a national trend in grassroots philanthropy --more than 12,000 Americans are members of 'giving circles,' and collectively these groups have poured approximately $100 million into communities nationwide, the majority since 2000. 'Giving Circles' are charitable groups in which members pool their donations and decide collectively how to use the funds. Those interested in starting a giving circle can visit

Seacoast residents who would like support CLF's work, can visit CLF's website at

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. Members contribute annually to a pooled fund 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 non-profit organization to receive the Giving Circle's annual gift.

The Conservation Law Foundation ( works to solve the most significant environmental challenges facing New Hampshire and throughout New England. CLF's advocates use law, economics and science to create innovate strategies to conserve natural resources, protect public health and promote vital communities in the region. Founded, in 1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with offices in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Seacoast Women's Giving Circle
Anne Sudduth

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