Sara Lomelin: Community, Identity & Collective Philanthropy
November 02, 2023
In this episode we speak to Sara Lomelin, founding CEO of Philanthropy Together, about the rise of giving circles and the intersection between philanthropy, community and identity. Including:
- How did Philanthropy Together come about, and what is the organisation's mission?
- Who gets involved in giving circles? Are they different from"typical donors"?
- Do collective giving models appeal more to younger donors?
- What different approaches to giving circles take to decision-making?
- Are there models of collective giving that bring recipients into the decision making process as well as donors?
- How much collective giving takes place through long-term giving circles, and how much is through shorter-term “pop-up” collaborations? Is it possible to combine the strengths of both of these approaches?
- Are giving circles more likely to give to smaller grassroots orgs that might be perceived as "risky" by institutional funders?
- Can collective giving models help to make philanthropy more justice-focussed?
- Can collective giving help to build a sense of shared identity, or does it rely on there being a pre-existing sense of identity around which a group can be formed?
- How do identity-based groups accommodate intersectional identities?
- Does collective giving build social capital? If so, is it merely “bonding” social capital or also “bridging”?
- The internet allows us to form communities of interest, identity or purpose that are not tied to geographic boundaries- in this context, is there still a meaningful relationship between ‘place’ and ‘community’?
- How can we learn more effectively from other cultures of giving where collective or horizontal models are more common?
- What is the relationship between collective giving and mutual aid? Is it more common to see a focus on notions such as solidarity when people are giving collectively?
- Do collective giving models address some of the concerns about the potentially anti-democratic nature of elite philanthropy?
- Should elite philanthropy fund collective giving models in recognition of their unique value? Or should elite philanthropists adopt practices and insights from collective giving?