Start a Giving Circle with Legacy Foundation
Giving circles are a meaningful way to engage in local philanthropy. They can help you meet new individuals who share your passions or deepen your current relationships. Many giving circles are created by friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues (generally 10+ members) who pool their charitable dollars and decide together which causes and charities to support.
How Legacy Foundation Supports Giving Circles
- Assist in establishing goals, structure, mission and grant criteria.
- Organize site visits to help donors get to know potential grantees.
- Perform due diligence on charitable organizations.
- Share the giving circle’s work with Legacy’s audience.
- Manage administrative needs: cutting grant checks, filing tax returns, sending donor acknowledgements, and more.
- Provide a venue to discuss broader issues related to philanthropy, such as prioritizing community needs.
- With an endowment fund, Legacy will invest your funds for growth. Requires $10,000 minimum fund balance.
Steps to creating a giving circle!
Gather Your Members
Ten is a good number to start. Make a list of friends or colleagues who share similar passions.
Identify Your Common Purpose
Many giving circles are formed around a particular identity (religion, gender, professional association, ethnicity, etc.). This may help direct your focus area for grantmaking. Encourage the group to be specific about the issues you want to address.
Collectively decide your goals and structures, such as group name, membership amount, how often you want to meet, and leadership structure. (Legacy Foundation can provide guidance in these areas.)
Contact Legacy Foundation
Create a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), where the circle can hold its money. This allows members to make their contributions tax-deductible and removes the administrative burden from the group. Giving circle members would still advise where to make grants.
Setting up a Giving Circle Fund at Legacy Foundation
Two authorized members of the Giving Circle meet with Legacy Foundation staff and sign a fund agreement with the name, purpose, and composition of the Giving Circle. These two members become the Fund Advisors or name other individuals to advise the Fund.
An initial gift and fund balance of $10,000 or more is recommended to establish a Giving Circle Fund. Giving Circle members should discuss anticipated financial model of the Giving Circle with Foundation staff before establishing a Fund at the Foundation.
Giving Circle members begin making gifts of cash and publicly-traded stock into the Fund; members can make donations online or with check. Contributions of complex gifts, such as real estate or closely-held business interests may also be received. Contact Legacy Foundation staff to learn more.
Endowed Giving Circle Funds are assessed an annual administrative fee of 2% and annual invest fees of up to .75%. Nonpermanent funds are assessed a fee of 4% of each new gift.
Once the Giving Circle Fund is established, Fund Advisors access fund information anytime through the Fund Advisor Portal, our online portal. Information about gifts into the grants from the Fund are posted weekly; investment earnings/losses are posted monthly.