Grapevine Q&A: Geaux Girls

Jan 5, 2022

"Our giving circle is about community as much as it is about giving. We are made up of women from a variety of sectors and backgrounds. We meet quarterly to fellowship and connect and many friendships have blossomed as a result of participating in the circle."

Geaux Girls Giving Circle Founder & Leader Ciara Coleman

Why did you decide to start or get involved with your group?

Geaux (Go) Girl Giving was a seed that was planted in my heart about four years ago. I have always had an altruistic spirit which has been demonstrated in my career and community efforts. Philanthropy and giving are not new to me, as I work for a private foundation and also come from a family of women who give. With nearly ten years in the philanthropic sector, I have seen firsthand the impact of investing in and trusting the community. Philanthropy as a sector is a powerful force, but I know personally, the often-underestimated power and ability of community-based giving that is driven by people and that is what I wanted to tap into. From that seed, Geaux Girl Giving was birthed to harness the collective power of giving, specifically in the Black community and among Black women.

What draws members to your group?

Our giving circle is about community as much as it is about giving. We are made up of women from a variety of sectors and backgrounds. We meet quarterly to fellowship and connect and many friendships have blossomed as a result of participating in the circle. In addition, each member has the opportunity to nominate a nonprofit they are passionate about to receive funding, so there is ownership in the process. Lastly, I’ll add that because we solely focus on women and girls that look like us, many people, especially Black women, are drawn to give and support our cause.  

How has your group evolved over time?

Geaux Girl Giving is a fairly new giving circle so we are still learning. As we approach year two in March 2022, we plan to expand the circle to include more women, more than double our yearly fundraising goal, and consider additional funding streams for programmatic efforts. We look forward to a greater impact in 2022!
 

How can you see the impact that you’ve made with your collective donations?

One of the important principles of our giving circle is using trust-based philanthropy practices, which include streamlining and simplifying paperwork. Nonprofits are nominated by each member using soft guidelines, so there is no burden for the nonprofit and we do not request or require any reporting or documentation on how the funds are used. Nonprofits are nominated because we witness their work in the community firsthand. The impact is in the work. The sheer excitement and gratitude in their responses after sharing that they will receive $1,000 from our circle is all the impact that we need. We believe that giving shouldn’t be convoluted.

What is your group focused on right now?

We are a collective of Black women in New Orleans who have dedicated our funding to support local, Black women-led, grassroots nonprofits that center and focus on Black women and girls. We have an intentional focus on Black women and girls because research has shown that these organizations face significant barriers to funding yet often do more with fewer resources. While our grants are usually $1,000 we know that any unrestricted funding to grassroots organizations goes a long way. We want Black women and girls, especially nonprofit leaders, to experience joy, freedom, and rest. Our contributions are intended to help that cause in any way they deem appropriate because they know best.

How can people get involved?

Anyone can become a friend of Geaux Girl Giving by supporting our cause and making a donation of any size. Geaux Girl Giving is an initiative of The Purposeful Project and you can find our work highlighted on their Instagram page at @the_purposefulproject.