The future of philanthropy is collaborative

Philanthropy Together & Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partner for amplified impact
Bryan Patrick Photography

Collective and collaborative models of giving are built on the deep belief that changing the world is only possible when we work together: “If you want to go far, go together.

As a field catalyst for collective giving, our unique mission at Philanthropy Together is to build a groundswell of participation and awareness of collective giving models and coalesce the ecosystem of groups doing this work. From giving circles to women’s funds to giving projects to flow funds to collaborative funds, we have seen exponential growth in the interest of collective giving because of its ability to drive impact at scale, shift who is giving and how decisions are made, and create long-term pathways for change. As the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues its journey to help more philanthropists accelerate their giving through collaborative funds, the team at Philanthropy Together is proud to partner in bringing our field-building insights and skills to bear. 


Expanding Horizons: Welcoming Collaborative Funds

Philanthropy Together was born from collaboration and community. In fall of 2017, alongside the launch of the Collective Giving Research Group’s Landscape Study, leaders from two dozen giving circle networks came together for the first time through a lead grant from the Gates Foundation. Led by Amplifier, Community Investment Network, Latino Community Foundation, Philanos and Asian Women Giving Circle, in partnership with dozens more giving circle networks and leaders, we set out to discover how the field of giving circles could be strengthened and scaled by uniting.

Philanthropy Together launched in 2020 with a vision to unite passionate, empowered individuals in collective and intentional giving to change the world. Since those early days of 2020, the field has matured significantly, and we are proud of the impact we’ve been able to make as a result of our collective efforts. Philanthropy Together has achieved remarkable milestones, including generating over half a billion media impressions for giving circles and collective giving, training more than 600 community leaders to start circles, convening thousands for in-depth learning at our annual convening, We Give Summit, teaching thousands more through webinars, videos, and resources, and fueling the growth of the field overall.

As we journeyed through this work, it became clear that there are so many powerful models—far beyond just giving circles—that are leading philanthropy forward. Just as with giving circles, collaborative funds have seen a rapid rise over the past decade and aren’t yet deeply connected as a field. With the landscape of philanthropy continuing to shift and momentum growing around the concept of collective giving, Philanthropy Together expanded its focus in 2023 to include the emerging field of collaborative funds and our partnership with the Gates Foundation is actively working to foster a robust ecosystem.


Over the past year, through a grant from the Gates Foundation, we went on a listening tour with more than 50 collaborative funds to uncover shared challenges and launched a Collaboratives Braintrust of 15 collaborative funds to guide our ongoing work and strategy. We developed four sessions of content for the field of collaboratives at We Give Summit. Building from all these conversations, we co-hosted and crafted the experience and sessions for the inaugural Global Summit of Collaborative Funds in October 2023. This convening gathered more than 100 collaborative funds from around the world for relationship building, ecosystem shaping, and shared learning alongside funders and infrastructure leaders. The co-created ideas and plans to advance this burgeoning field will come to life in 2024 and beyond. We are also partnering with the Gates Foundation to facilitate a learning experience for a curated group of collaborative funds operating through a lens of racial and/or gender equity and currently on a path to scale.


Additionally, Philanthropy Together has launched virtual community spaces for shared learning and problem solving, and will be launching more virtual spaces for learning soon—sign up to join and get involved.


Intractable systemic crises, of which our world is not in short supply, require collective action to address issues at scale. We are honored to be working alongside the hundreds of collaborative funds engaged in this crucial world-changing work. Only together can we pave the way for the beautiful, just world we all long for and we are proud to be doing so with our friends and colleagues at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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