Giving Circle, Giving Together

Brian Treece photo
Brian Treece - President & CEO of The Community Foundation

I’m a firm believer that we are at our best when we work together. Handbags That Help, the women’s giving circle hosted by The Community Foundation, is another example of this credo in action. Handbags takes this one step further demonstrating that we’re better when we give together, too.

Handbags That Help is dedicated to building strong families and increasing philanthropy in Hancock County. The giving circle concept is as simple as it is powerful. A giving circle is formed when individuals come together and pool their dollars, decide together where to grant the money and learn about their community and philanthropy.

The impact speaks for itself. Handbags has awarded over $580,000 in grants since its first year of grantmaking in 2008. Some of the grants include equipment for the Center for Safe and Healthy Children; support for a health educator social worker to coordinate education and programming for low-income pregnant women; funding for the Bridges Out of Poverty program; support for READ for Life, Habitat for Humanity, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Project Happy Feet, the Clubhouse Reading Program, a Diabetes Health Program, and many others. In total, 42 grants have been made to nonprofits throughout Hancock County.

Through grant requests, presentations and interviews, Handbags members hear directly from nonprofit organizations about their work and needs. Membership in this group gives you an inside look at the nonprofits doing meaningful work in our community and educates on the everchanging needs around us. This group of informed philanthropic leaders accomplish change together and celebrate impact. This meaningful work done by a group of strong women volunteers makes a measurable difference.

All women are invited to participate in the Handbags That Help Giving Circle. A contribution of $500 entitles you to one year of membership and a single vote as to how the money will be granted back to the community. You can join as an individual or split a membership with a group of friends or colleagues. You can scale your involvement from as little as sending in your annual membership and casting your vote, to serving as an officer or a committee member.

Handbags That Help is approaching its 15th anniversary and I can’t wait to see how much more they accomplish in the coming years.

This editorial was originally printed in The Courier Wednesday, September 1, 2021.