History (Herstory)

In 2007, five Rochester, NY women, - Paula Carter, Alyce Van Patten, Amy Irish, Shirley King, and Ellen Bevan – envisioned the power of women supporting women through hands-on philanthropy and started the Rochester Women's Giving Circle (RWGC). Within several months there were 29 members and in 2008 they granted $33,500 to six organizations. Over the past eight years, the RWGC has made 68 grants to organizations in Monroe County, NY serving women and girls. In the early years, grants ranged in size from $1,500 to $10,000. Currently the grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.

 

2015 grantees: Hillside Work Connections cohorts -- Photo by HEartworks Photography

 

In 2015 the Giving Circle membership approved a high impact grant of $100,000 over two years to Hillside Work Scholarship Connection. It provides support and mentoring to 40 young women, 20 each year, as they transition from high school to post secondary education.

In its seven year history, the RWGC has granted a total of $772,812. Over 3,600 low-income women and girls have been directly impacted through training, education, or direct services provided by these programs. Current membership is now 152 women. To see a listing of all grants, click here.

RWGC was the first formally established giving circle in the community and is an Initiative Fund at The Community Foundation, with full oversight provided by Giving Circle members.