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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Philanthropy tends to center on a small number of affluent donors, but a grassroots movement known as "giving circles" — in which more modest donors pool their resources — has been gaining popularity.

The big picture: Giving circles are still a drop in the philanthropic bucket, but proponents say they open the field to younger and more diverse donors — and broaden the reach of giving.

  • Members decide by vote or consensus which organizations to fund.
  • "This is activism in the world of philanthropy ... and an antidote to other concerns," Dianne Chipps Bailey, a philanthropic strategy executive for Bank of America, tells Axios.

Giving circles are growing: More than 1,000 such groups existed in the U.S. in 2016, compared with 400 in 2006, per a Women's Philanthropy Institute database.

  • The model resonates with women: Of those groups, about 70% said more than half their members were women.
  • Giving circles tend to be hyper-local and to come together around shared identity. (Examples include Asian Women Giving Circle in New York, and Amplifier, a network of circles focused on Jewish values.)

Black Benefactors, a 12-year-old giving circle in Washington, D.C., donates to Black-led nonprofits — which tend to be overlooked by the broader philanthropic community.

  • 40 members donate at least $300 a year; so far, $70K has been given away.
  • Grants focus on organizations that support local children, youth and families — like $10K in 2019 to a group that sends middle-school girls of color on trips abroad, and $10K to one that funds math and science enrichment programs.
  • Donations are getting larger. “I see more people putting value on Black-led nonprofits through this work," Tracey Webb, the founder of Black Benefactors, tells Axios.

Yes, but: "The fact of the matter is, it is still donor-driven" rather than government funded, Angela Eikenberry, a professor of public administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, says of giving circles.

  • The model "still has the limitation of relying on philanthropy to make sure people have basic human rights."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”