In 2007, five Rochester, NY women – Paula Carter, Alyce Van Patten, Amy Irish, Shirley King, and Ellen Bevan – envisioned the power of women supporting women through hands-on philanthropy and started the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle (RWGC). Within several months there were 29 members, and in 2008 they granted $33,500 to six organizations. Over the past ten years, the RWGC has made 89 grants to organizations in Monroe County, NY serving women and girls.

2015 grantees: Hillside Work Scholarship Connection participants — Photo by HEartworks Photography

In 2015 the Giving Circle’s membership approved a high impact grant of $100,000 over two years to Hillside Work Scholarship Connection. It provided support and mentoring to 40 young women, 20 each year, as they transitioned from high school to post secondary education.

In its ten year history, the RWGC has granted more than $1.1 million. Over 4,300 low-income women and girls have been directly impacted through training, education, or direct services provided by these programs. Current membership is now 173 women. To see a listing of all grants, click here.

RWGC was the first formally established giving circle in the community and is an Initiative Fund with Rochester Area Community Foundation.¬†We are also a member of the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network, a group of more than 50 organizations that believe in the power of collective giving.