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WCGN Network Conference

Many Impact Austin members are familiar with the women’s collective giving movement. But do you know how big of an impact we are making in our country?

As of July 2015, over 9,000 women in the United States are members of giving circles, grantmaking foundations, and other organizations that make up “collective giving”. Impact Austin is one of 44 organizations that come together with women-based philanthropy groups across the country to exchange best practices, learn new skills in leadership, and discuss general trends in giving and grantmaking on a monthly basis. Founded in 2009, the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network (WCGN)* provides the structure for this “brain trust” of women philanthropic leaders.

Impact Austin has had a close working relationship with WCGN organizations since our inception. Founder Rebecca Powers regularly met with Impact 100 Cincinnati and Washington Women’s Foundation leaders to research best practices in membership and grantmaking. Rebecca’s work led to the creation of a mission and culture that made Impact Austin one of the leading collective giving groups in the country. As we have grown and matured, we have returned the favor to other giving groups. Our founder continues to mentor and nurture new women’s groups across the country, Impact Austin hosted the 2nd annual WCGN conference in 2012, and I was recently elected to the WCGN board for 2015-2018.

As a WCGN board member, I represent Impact Austin with leaders from Boise, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Greenville, Jacksonville, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis. We represent many walks of life and age groups, and our respective collective giving groups have unique cultures and ways we do grantmaking. But we speak with one voice in our mission: to support the creation, development, and expansion of women’s collective giving nationwide; to build women’s leadership; and amplify the power of giving together. At the annual strategic planning meeting in June, we discussed our efforts to continue to attract national attention from media, technology opportunities, provide engaging monthly education webinars, and build women philanthropic leaders.  Not only do women have a seat at the table of major foundations across the country, they are now building the tables themselves. That is pretty inspiring.

Collective giving is a treasured part of my personal philanthropy. When you and I renew our membership in Impact Austin each year, we are leveraging each other to create significant impact in the Austin community. Knowing that other cities have women who are doing the same thing makes our impact even more profound. How profound? WCGN member organizations – that’s you and me and them – have collectively given in excess of $70 million. THAT’S IMPACT!

The next WCGN conference is being hosted by the Women’s Impact Fund (WIF) in Charlotte, NC on October 15-17, 2015. I had the opportunity to meet many WIF members in June, and I wish each one of you could have experienced the warmth, the energy, the passionate exchange of ideas on giving, and the joy that our sisters in Charlotte have for community impact. As Impact Austin begins our new 2016 grantmaking year, I am eager to learn and bring back best practices from the conference to make Impact Austin the Texas leader in women’s collective giving. Because when Impact Austin is a leader, Austin is a better place to live for everyone.

I’m inviting you to join me and other Impact Austin members at the WCGN conference. Early Bird discounts are available through July 31, 2015 and you can get details on flights, rooms, and arrangements here.

Rebekah Bonde, President of the Board of Impact Austin.


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