How a “Giving Circle” Can Transform You Into a “Philanthroactivist”

March 01 2018 • Rachel Calderon

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Philanthropy comes in many shapes and sizes. In other words, there’s no one-size-fits all approach to giving — and that’s a good thing!

It means that each and every one of us can support the causes we hold close to our hearts in the ways that are the most meaningful to us.

Here in Central Florida, a group of women dedicated to empowering the lives of women and children in our community had the idea of creating a giving circle to support their mission.

Each member of Central Florida Foundation’s 100 Women Strong makes an $1,100 tax-deductible donation annually. But that’s not where their philanthropy ends.

The women then work together to identify needs in the community and decide where grants from 100 Women Strong will make the most impact.

These types of givers have become known as “philanthroactivists” — people passionate about a cause who are looking for a social return on their investment.

Since 2006, 100 Women Strong has invested more than $550,000 in local initiatives. Past grants have supported a wide range of efforts – from helping foster children complete high school, to supporting domestic violence survivors.

Just this month, 100 Women Strong announced its next grant to launch an early-learning pilot program in Orlando’s Pine Hills neighborhood that’s designed to meet the social and emotional needs of children from birth to age 5.

Last year, psychology Associate Professor Kimberly Renk of the University of Central Florida tested the program at two childcare centers in Pine Hills using a grant from 100 Women Strong and assistance from Florida State University and the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County.

Now, based on the success of her initial study, Renk is ready to bring the program to two mainstream childcare centers to see whether they, too, could benefit from using early-intervention techniques known as the “Circle of Security” that promote adult-child attachment to offset the effects of trauma and high-stress environments.

And still, for 100 Women Strong, the philanthropy doesn’t stop there.

The members have adopted two childcare centers in Pine Hills, donating books, providing new playgrounds and more.

Central Florida Foundation, which supports 100 Women Strong, has given these “philanthroactvists” the perfect outlet to support the causes they care about most.

100 Women Strong is making profound changes in our community, and those profound changes are making the members’ passion even stronger.

And that’s what we call a win-win.

Photo © Judy Watson Tracy 2018