The History of the Circles
The first Women’s Giving Circle in Sonoma, CA was started by a group of women from all over the Bay Area in 2007, with each member contributing the same amount of money. They established the Circle’s core values that became the foundation for deciding which projects to support. A wonderful collaborative process evolved during the first phase as many projects were presented for consideration. The second phase moved from research to selection and on to the final funding. It was very exciting to see the impact this endeavor had on real people as the projects were implemented.
The first project chosen was The Equilibrium Fund, www.TheEquilibriumFund.org. Their mission is to improve rainforest conservation, food security, women’s income, status, and self-esteem through production, consumption, and sales of Maya Nut. Women were instructed in El Salvador in the use and cultivation of the Maya Nut tree to nourish and feed the people of their villages. This empowered women to begin their own cottage industries and, by using the Maya Nut, to provide healthy food for their children and the village so they are now well nourished. WGC is helping finance adocumentary film to further promote and expand this project. A 10-minute clip of the documentary may be viewed at: www.SeedsOfInspirationMovie.com/movies/
Our second project was The Future Leaders Institute (FLI), TheFutureLeadersInstitute.org. This project advances education and builds civic leaders, as students pursue their passions, network with local professionals, mobilize their communities, and build social enterprises to bring about powerful social change - creating bold, humanitarian leaders. The Women’s Giving Circle’s core values enabled these projects to not only empower the women, both young as well as mature, but also helped educate them. Other core values were also met, including working with the women to improve the environment and promote better health.