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Generosity Collective launches first-year grantmaking process

The Generosity Collective

Springfield-centric giving circle uses Community Focus Report to guide $120,000 grant program

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Each of us can give a little to improve our community — but if we give as a group, we can expedite positive change. That’s the concept behind the Generosity Collective, a new high-impact giving circle for Springfield that recently opened its first grant round.

Giving circles, often hosted by community foundations, allow like-minded individuals to pool donations, learn about community needs and collectively determine grant recipients best suited to address those needs. The charitable “dues” for membership and grantmaking focus vary with each giving circle.

While not a new concept, giving circles are growing in popularity as a way to democratize philanthropy and help donors build connections with other donors and their community. According to a recent report, about 4,000 giving circles are active in the U.S. The CFO supports about three dozen active giving circles across its service area.

Building and strengthening social connections are essential to the success of a giving circle. The Generosity Collective will hold several gatherings throughout the year to give members a chance to get to know one another and better understand the community issues they seek to address with their grantmaking.

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The Generosity Collective’s founding members met for the first time in March at Mother’s Barrelhouse in Springfield.

At its first meeting in March, the founding membership gathered at Mother’s Barrelhouse to learn about the Community Focus Report and determine the group’s four grantmaking priorities. The Generosity Collective’s advisory board had already narrowed the report’s 66 Blue Ribbons and Red Flags — community successes and challenges — to 10 priorities.

Dr. Jonathan Groves, communications department chair at Drury University and facilitator of the report, delivered an overview of the report, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary later this year. He encouraged the members to see the Blue Ribbons and Red Flags not as single, isolated issues but as part of the weave of the community.

“The report’s 11 topic areas are not distinct silos,” Groves said. “Some of the most compelling community solutions to Red Flags are collaborations across sectors, as what helps in one space often has an impact elsewhere in the community.”

After the event, the membership cast their votes to determine the final four grantmaking priorities, which were announced with the opening of the grant round on April 22:

  • Economic Disparities Impacting Early Childhood Development
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Mental Health and Substance-Use Problems
  • Shortage of Safe, Affordable Housing

For its first year of grantmaking, the Generosity Collective has raised $120,000. After the application period closes on May 31, the Generosity Collective’s grantmaking committees will narrow the applicants to two or three finalists per category. Each finalist will submit a short video describing their proposal. After reviewing the videos, members will vote to determine the four grant recipients. The grants will be presented in November.

“With the success we’ve seen in our affiliate communities, we know how effective a giving circle can be for Springfield,” said Winter Kinne, president and CEO of the CFO. “Not only are we excited by the possibilities to move the needle on these four community challenges, we’re already thrilled by the connections that the Generosity Collective’s members are building with each other.”

Membership for the Generosity Collective is currently closed but will reopen in late 2024. To learn more and express interest for membership, go to

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