Join Us

The Giving Project Network is committed to supporting efforts to pilot the model in new locations through technical assistance and cohort-based peer learning. Running a Giving Project requires a significant upfront commitment of resources as well as existing relationships with both donors and grassroots organizations. Join us to pilot the Giving Project and to sustain this transformative model.

Watch the recording of Giving Projects Growing Power, a virtual event that introduces the Giving Project model to an audience of social justice funders, donors, and resource mobilizers. Hear from the following practitioners in the Giving Project Network as they share how and why they use this cross-class, cross-race donor-organizing program to resource grassroots movements for justice:

Nigel Charles - Director of Donor Organizing, Bread & Roses Community Fund in Philadelphia and Co-Chair of the GPN Steering Committee

Crystal Middlestadt - Executive Director, Chinook Fund in Colorado

Jillian White - Donor Organizer, North Star Fund in New York City

Allison Johnson Heist - Program Director, Headwaters Foundation for Justice in Minnesota

Micky Huihui - Executive Director, Hawai'i People's Fund

Frequently asked questions

What does it take to start a Giving Project and join the national Giving Project Network?


  • Giving Projects are most successful when the hosting organizations already have social justice political analysis, grantmaking infrastructure and values-aligned facilitation capacity, and strong relationships with grassroots organizations. We have found that hosting funds get the most out of the Giving Project model and the Giving Project Network when they are willing to learn and adapt, want to be in a learning community with peers, and when the organization is clear on why the Giving Project model will advance their mission.
  • We recommend budgeting $100K to pilot a Giving Project. It takes between .5 and .75 of an FTE, or at least 1200 hours, to run a Giving Project from recruitment, to curriculum development, facilitation and grants administration. It may require a full FTE (between one or two staff) for your first year to adapt agendas to the local context and get all of the backend supports in place. In general, the more time invested into the Giving Project, the greater the pay-off in terms of outcomes including money raised, participant experience, leadership development, and alumni engagement.
  • Funds piloting the model are asked to contribute $5,000 per year to the Network. Funds that co-own the model and have a seat on the Steering Committee contribute a minimum of $15,000 per year to sustain the collective.




What kind of support does the Giving Project Network offer to organizations that want to pilot a Giving Project?


  • Funds that decide to pilot the Giving Project model sign an MOU with the Giving Project Network, agreeing to our values, culture, and practices. These funds gain access to our learning community which includes sample curriculum and adaptations, technical assistance from staff, and peer support from other funds in the Network. Onboarding funds join a cohort, and are encouraged to participate in the learning community through monthly calls, quarterly trainings, and annual retreats.
  • The Giving Project Network cannot run Giving Projects for organizations or underwrite the costs of running a Giving Project.




Who can start a Giving Project? Can I start a Giving Project outside of a formal organization, maybe by an individual or a group of community folks?


  • At this point all of our member organizations are social justice foundations because of the needed infrastructure & staff capacity.
  • Transforming Power Fund in Detroit did their first Giving Project this year. The fund was formed by local community to create infrastructure for community control over philanthropic funds pouring into their city.
  • We are open to talking with groups that are exploring different models to set up infrastructure for cross-class, multiracial giving to social justice movements.




How is the Giving Project structured?


  • The Giving Project Network (GPN) is a national collaboration between 10 social justice funds that have adopted the Giving Project model of donor organizing and grantmaking. Our purpose is to build a base of donor organizers across race and class to support our vision of well resourced liberation movements. Our strategy as a Network is to convene a learning community of practitioners and to replicate the model so anyone, anywhere can do a Giving Project. We are led by a Steering Committee made up of representatives from each of the member funds that collectively own and innovate around the model.
  • The GPN Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from Bread & Roses Community Fund, Chinook Fund, Crossroads Fund, Headwaters Foundation for Justice, North Star Fund, and Social Justice Fund NW.




What are the core values of the Giving Project and the Giving Project Network?


  • Movement building. We see our work as part of and in service to building a long-term movement for justice and equity. The resources we raise are explicitly to fund community organizing for systemic change.
  • Inclusivity. We strive to make our work accessible to as many people as possible across identity and experience.
  • Black liberation, decolonization, and racial justice. We center Black and Indigenous leadership and liberation, and equity practices, not only in how we collectively develop and implement this shared model, but also within the funds that are moving this work forward.
  • Collective liberation. We believe that we all benefit when we challenge and share power.
  • Sharing power and democracy. Power should be dispersed and shared, and decisions are better when they are owned by those who are most affected.
  • Accountability. We seek ongoing feedback from a broad community of partners.
  • Optimism. We believe we can make a difference, and work hard to achieve our goals.




How much do Giving Projects raise?


  • We generally aim to raise at least $100K+ through a Giving Project from at least 200 donors. Some Giving Projects have raised over $400K from over 400 donors. Goals for each GP are set to challenge each group, based on local conditions, and the make up and experience of the participants.




What is the median amount that a donor in a Giving Project gives, and how does that compare to amounts they have given previously?


  • There is a wide range of donation sizes. In 2020 the smallest donation was $5 and the largest was $80k. For the meaningful gifts given by Giving Project participants themselves, they often stretch to make the largest gift they've ever made. Giving Projects don’t measure success only by the amount of money raised, but also for how participants stretch themselves to make meaningful gifts, fundraise through direct asks, and deepen relationships based on values.




What’s the difference between a Giving Project and a Giving Circle?


  • Giving Projects are hosted by organizations, usually public foundations with deep history and experience resourcing movements for social justice. There are core components of every Giving Project, including a cross-race and cross-class cohort, political education on race and class, and hands-on training in grassroots fundraising and grantmaking. Giving Projects are facilitated by skilled facilitators and organized around a clear framework of moving resources to community organizing and social justice movements. Giving Projects are time-limited, usually running for 6 months.
  • Giving Circles are a form of collective giving with a lot of variation. Some Giving Circles are based on a shared race and/or class experience, and many give to a wide range of organizations, and can last for any period of time.




Does it work to do a Giving Project for international grantmaking?


  • Most Giving Projects are locally based, funding organizations in the same geographic area as where the participants gather.
  • There are different considerations in running a Giving Project with grantees in a different geographic location than the GP participants.
  • Grassroots International uses the Giving Project model with US-based participants fundraise to make grants to partners in the Global South.




What is included in the Giving Project curriculum?


  • The Network has a blueprint curriculum that each fund adapts to build their curriculum on based on their local context and local conditions. There are 8-15 group learning sessions with an emphasis on relationship building, building donor organizing & grantmaking skills, and political education.
  • The political education on race and class uses popular education methods, small groups, and activities to deepen participants’ analysis of racial capitalism. The Giving Project model uses a donor organizing framework to move money to movements and build a base of donor organizers. Donor organizing sees moving resources as one form of collective action.




How do you evaluate the success of a Giving Project?


  • We look at quantitative data such as money raised, money distributed in grants, and number of donors engaged. We track how much funding is going to Black-led and Native-led organizations.
  • We also evaluate qualitative data around participant experience, including race and class diversity of Giving Project cohorts, retention of Giving Project participants throughout the six- month program, and personal testimonies of transformation.
  • We consider how Giving Projects build capacity for resource mobilization for movements, looking at the impact on the organizing ecosystem and on movement-building. We are building critical movement infrastructure by building strong organizations and accountable donors, even as we are clear that our ultimate vision is the equitable distribution of resources in society so that funding institutions are no longer necessary to redistribute resources.




What do people go on to do after completing a Giving Project?


  • The Giving Project model builds a base of donor organizers who are skilled and experienced in moving money to movements. We see Giving Project alumni as folks from diverse race and class backgrounds who are connected and accountable to local movement organizations and grantees, who continue to move money to movements and activate their networks to do the same.
  • Giving Project alumni often stay connected with the fund that hosted their Giving Project as donors to the fund, as facilitators for Giving Project caucuses, and on alumni and fundraising committees. Alumni stay connected with each other through alumni committees, listservs and social media. Some alumni become board members for funds or grantee organizations, or join fundraising committees for local organizing groups. Some funds run Momentum Projects, accelerated fundraising projects for Giving Project alumni.





Launch a Giving Project 

If you or your organization are interested in using the Giving Project model, we'd love to talk to you! 

JOIN A GIVING PROJECT

Joining a Giving Project is a great way to build your skills as a donor and fundraiser, deepen your political analysis in practice, and support amazing organizations. Reach out to the member fund in your area to learn more about a local Giving Project. 

Fund the Model

Funding the Giving Project model is an effective way to move resources to social justice organizations while developing donors to sustain those resources.

 I will take what I learned and apply it in other areas of my life, whether that be work, school, family, etc. I will continue to challenge my biases, expand my mind, and try to imagine and work towards alternative realities. - Giving Project Participant, Bread & Roses Community Fund

Chinook Fund 2019 Giving Project members

Chinook Fund