Q&A with the Los Angeles Giving Circle

Sep 22, 2021

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

In 2010, after the financial meltdown of 2008, it was clear that the plight of underserved women and girls had gotten even worse. So several friends and I decided to start a giving circle to serve this constituency. On a personal level, as a child of holocaust survivors, I always knew how fortunate I was and that I needed to give back.

What draws members to your group?

We provide members with the opportunity to:

  • Gain skills to become effective, strategic philanthropists and leverage gifts for greater impact
  • Connect with like-minded people, community advocates and grassroots leaders
  • Receive training in grant evaluation and selection
  • Form friendships with other philanthropists in the community
  • Learn from experts about addressing the needs and realities of women and girls throughout Los Angeles.

How has your group evolved over time?

After each granting cycle, we review the events and processes and make changes based on the outcomes and on member feedback. Most recently, we’ve gone through a 9-month strategic planning process so that this upcoming cycle will be very different, while still adhering to our mission and values. We are going to a Trust-Based Giving model, which makes us partners with our grantees.

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

Our grantees and the girls and women they serve have told us time and time again about the difference we have made in their lives, from their ability to get a well-paying job (WINTER, CodeTalk), to their developing interest in STEM (DIY Girls, Black Girls Code), to their ability to get housing during a rough time (Alexandria House, St. Anne’s).

What is your group focused on right now?

With our newly completed strategic plan, we are concentrating on expanding membership, with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How can people get involved?

Please go to our website, www.losangelesgivingcircle.org, or contact me, Helen MacKinnon, at hmackinnon@tci-la.com.