Increasing impact and engagement

In 2006, Krista and Tlisa were stuck at an impasse.

Within their peer groups, both women had been engaged in discussions on social capital – or the belief that our connections to each other have value. The general consensus among everyone was that social capital was on the decline. But this was not a consensus shared by all.

I didn’t agree with the conclusion,” says Tlisa Northcutt. “My work in development was telling me something entirely different.

Over the next few months, Tlisa and Krista were inspired to seek ways to mobilize their peers and strengthen their social networks to revisit the issue of declining social capital. Their desire to make a difference galvanized the creation of the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle.

While the formal structure of giving circles (in their current configuration) is relatively new; the basic idea has existed for generations – by pooling our resources, we achieve more.

Bringing together individuals who share a common vision, identity, core values or community ideals — creates opportunity for more meaningful impact, deeper understanding and greater engagement. The members of a giving circle decide together where to donate their pooled resources.

For the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle, it also offers an opportunity for fellowship and time to spend with a growing group of friends.

The idea intrigued me. I had been donating money my whole life but had never been fully strategic in giving or been able to make sizeable gifts. Being part of a giving circle afforded me both of those advantages,” Krista Scully says.

The structure of a giving circle can be either formal or informal. Tlisa and Krista wanted to create something sustainable and recognized that they needed some assistance. That’s where The Alaska Community Foundation stepped in. Through ACF, the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle has a partner focused on the details when it comes to fiscal management, administrative oversight and due diligence of potential grant recipients. This partnership allows the members of the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle to focus on what really matters – identifying the causes they care about and deciding how to make a lasting impact.

Providing a vehicle for philanthropic giving is what we do,” states Candace Winkler, President & CEO of The Alaska Community Foundation. “We seek to engage and educate Alaskans about the impact of individual philanthropy. This is exactly what the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle achieves.

For a list of grantees and for to get involved, visit the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle online at

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