collective behavior

Giving Circles--Mutual Aid--Black History is American History

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As everyday givers in the COVID era, we are bearing witness to events (daily) that beg us to explore different ways of living and giving. Imagine philanthropy through a lens of more collectivism and less rugged individualism. Mutual aid groups past and present rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of the greater community. Born from the tradition, giving circles have the power to catalyze a pivot and lead a broader movement for collective good. Can you feel it?

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Viral Generosity.

Established in 1787, the Free African Society was a force during the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic of Philadelphia. The group’s charitable mobilization of collective resources and voluntarism helped lift the city out of crisis. See: A narrative of the proceedings of the black people, during the late awful calamity in Philadelphia, in the year 1793: and a refutation of some censures, thrown upon them in some late publications. [word to primary source documentation]


mutual aid: the act of reciprocal and collective care

The Love Fridge is a collective that practices mutual aid grounded in food.
Image credit: The Love Fridge in the alley behind 57th Street Books in Chicago is a refrigerator from which people can take free food or donate food for others to take. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)


Broadcast - How to Make Mutual Aid Work Sustainable
Zenat Begum’s Playground Coffee Shop Is All About Community


Be Open and Learn from the Community.

Learning requires person-to-person/group interaction, listening, and study of the historical and sociopolitical context of a community… fundraising nonprofits, should create more frequent opportunities to engage with and learn from communities of color. - Time, Treasure,Talent, & Testimony: Giving by Women of Color in Chicago


Something to think about:

Collective Leadership.

“lifting as we climb”

Meet the Brave but Overlooked Women of Color Who Fought for the Vote
Image credit: Afro American Newspapers/Gado, via Getty Images via New York Times


“celebrate the power of community and the power of the collective”

The South Side Giving Circle of Chicago Foundation for Women mobilizes philanthropic resources of local women to invest in Black women and girls on Chicago's South Side and in the South Suburbs.


Community Joy.

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