Via: FWD DFW
By: Allison Hatfield
“The need is so great. It is major great,” says Verna Jones, co-founder and CEO of Under 1 Roof, which provides permanent supportive housing and other services to homeless and low-income families and individuals in Dallas and Collin counties. In this FWD>DFW segment, which first aired on Facebook Live, host Ron Corning talks with Jones and three other Black women who are working to make a difference in D-FW.
What is a giving circle?
Kristyn Senters, senior director of communications at Texas Women’s Foundation, says her organization invests in women and girls through research, advocacy, programs and funding. Part of that effort comes through giving circles, which are groups of individuals who have a common experience, culture or interest, and who raise money to support those commonalities.
Senters says there’s a longstanding gender gap in funding between organizations run by men, serving men or a broad population, and those run by women, serving a female population. In fact, Senters says, “if you look at the statistics, less than 2% of giving — philanthropic giving — across the world is given to missions that support women and girls.”
Giving circles strive to balance the difference. Texas Women’s Foundation hosts four disparate groups:
- H100 Latina Giving Circle: Latina women funding organizations that support Latina women and girls
- HERitage Giving Fund: Black women funding organizations that support Black women and girls
- Orchid Giving Circle: Asian American women funding organizations that support the North Texas Asian community
- The Village Giving Circle: Black women supporting philanthropic organizations led by Black people
Though each of the groups has its own focus, all of the groups are aligned with the core mission of advancing the economic security and leadership opportunities for women, girls and families.
Get to know The Village Giving Circle
Shonn Brown and Lisa Montgomery co-founded The Village Giving Circle in 2017. They began raising money the following year and have since awarded $622,000 in grants to organizations that help Black women and children, including $250,000 to 15 nonprofits in 2020 alone. That’s the most The Village Giving Circle has ever been able to grant in a single year, Brown says. That it happened in a pandemic has astounded her and her co-founder.
“We were prepared to adjust our expectations for 2020,” Montgomery says, “but we just kept sharing the need with our members. … Our members met the moment, and they stepped up and just overdelivered.”
Under 1 Roof is among the 2020 recipients of a The Village Giving Circle grant. The agency has seen requests for information about assistance go from about 80 per month to 2,000 to 3,000 per month since COVID-19 hit. Jones notes with regret that she can’t help all of those people. But since its founding in 2011 Under 1 Roof has helped about 700 households get off the streets and into a safe home and supportive system of compassionate education and care. “It’s not just about putting a roof over someone’s head,” Jones says about her work. “It’s about tackling the issues that led to homelessness in the first place.”
In addition to homelessness, The Village Giving Circle supports a broad range of causes through nonprofits that work on issues related to health care, domestic violence, education, senior services and food insecurity.
To learn more about giving circles or donate to one of those mentioned in this story, go to txwf.org.