Given the systemic drawbacks that people of color face on a daily basis, it can be hard for us to find peace and happiness in our local communities. However, we shouldn’t let societal issues keep us from experiencing joy. Many people find joy in seeing the fruits of their seeds grow and blossom in the form of change in their communities. They find joy in knowing that the resource center can keep the lights on because of their regular contributions. I often see it in the faces of the people that I work with. They love knowing that they came together as a community to make a mission possible. And with their efforts, their joy will be amplified, creating a ripple effect that touches everyone around them.
Does being the hero spark joy in your life? Connecting your joy to your philanthropic profile is a great way to engage in your community. My joy has a lot to do with Giving Circles. For instance, when you form your own giving circle, you change the outlook for somebody else. You make an impact with your gifts (large or small) that grows from consistent effort over time. One of the most common misconceptions that I encounter in my work is that philanthropists are people who give hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity. I often share that philanthropists can start where they are. A $100 donation, multiplied by 100 people monthly makes a huge difference. For example, a giving circle can provide the funds to beautify parks, keep a maternal health center running, provide school supplies to underfunded schools and help reduce recidivism rates amongst former inmates. Your input starts a circle in more ways than one. You pour into a purpose, and the community and you see the immediate impact of your work.
The unfortunate truth is that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the current trends facing the nonprofit sector— dwindling foundation grant funding. Large non-profits tend to raise more dollars, but these dollars do not often translate to real change for communities of color. In addition, Black-led nonprofits tend to lack the resources of the big-named charities, so they often depend on donations and unpredictable funding in order to keep afloat.
I understand that within the BIPOC community the desire to give is there. What is not so apparent, however, is the logistics of how to make giving happen. Many would-be philanthropists have no idea of how to funnel their money into the causes they support. The power of the collective is real and it is impactful. This can be shown by a group of intentional and strategic people being the change they want to see. I call this a giving circle and the formula of Time + Talent + Treasure = A Testimony of all that are engaged in the process. What I know for sure is connecting the community to nonprofits by spreading joy through philanthropy is a wonderful journey to embark on. I hope that you, too, can consider the intersectionality of passion and collective giving.