The Power of Giving and Giving Circles

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Article authors
Westley T. Holiday, Director of Strategic Engagement & Project Management at Columbia University & Co-CEO of Holiday HOOPS and ART, and Amber Carlson-Hays, President of ARCHway Learning Solutions & Founding Member of Orlando Women for Good

In a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a hot topic, there is a need to examine the power differential that money carries. It is a sad truth that American operations are often steeped in systemic inequality. With every civil rights movement and progression, America must change its laws to unmask the close-mindedness of our policies. So, it is no surprise that philanthropy should be any different and must look within to see what needs to change. Change is innovation, and change management takes work. Businesses often talk about “waste and duplication” of resources, and nonprofits are no different. How much more powerful would it be to align yourself with other nonprofits and people who want to do good in your community? Shared giving circles can be one vehicle to provide this opportunity for change. Local philanthropists come together to determine where their donations are given, and it is done with shared voices through little committee red tape. For example, ARCHway Learning Solutions President Amber Carlson-Hays is a founding member of the Orlando Women for Good giving circle through Grapevine. As stated on the website, the group’s mission is clear, “Helping women in Orlando build connections and enrich our professional and personal lives while doing good for the greater community. We meet once every quarter to network, donate, learn about local nonprofits, and vote on which ones to support together.” While this is not a nonprofit, it is an empowering way for people to pool their resources to give for direct impact. Donors want to do their research and see the direct result of their philanthropic giving being poured directly into the hands of those who need it. Amber shares that “Giving is at the heart of learning and growth. When we give of ourselves, whether our knowledge or our resources, we invest in the future of others and our community. Giving is the foundation of our growth together.” ARCHway believes in the power of giving!


Buhles, K. (August 22, 2017). Shared Gifting: Shifting Funding Power to Nonprofits. Standford Social Innovation Review. 

Daniels, A. and Gose, B. (April 2, 2019). Balance of Power. The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Orlando Women for Good (October 2022). Grapevine.