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A Giving Circle Leader on the Joy of Community

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Tyeshia Wilson, director of engagement for Philanthropy Together.

Tyeshia Wilson, courtesy of Tyeshia Wilson

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

Working in philanthropy is one of the most rewarding and self-fulfilling careers, ever. I’m altruistic, I’m a humanitarian, and I’m passionate about service. Looking back, I only wish I had been exposed to the idea of a career in philanthropy earlier. If I was aware of this alignment between  my heart and the work of this field, I would have started in this profession much sooner and likely pursued philanthropic studies in school.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

A huge piece of our work in philanthropy is restoration because we pour so much into our communities. As a working professional, mother of five and wife, as well as someone committed to self-care, my greatest professional challenge is finding the right balance. I am so passionate about my work and community that I often bring it home with me. As rewarding as this profession is, it’s a heavy lift and requires a healthy work/life balance to avoid burnout. You can’t pour from an empty cup, right? To ensure that I show up and pour into others everyday, I have to remember to fill my cup and always strive to strike a healthy balance.

3. What inspires you most about your work?

I am inspired by the people I get to work with to advance the giving circle movement and the power of human connection. My work at Philanthropy Together emphasizes the importance of connecting like-minded individuals to create a more just and equitable society, and I’m constantly inspired by the lives, personalities and stories of the communities we serve. I find so much joy being in community with people, loving and supporting mankind in spite of our differences. It truly is a treasure and pleasure to be part of a people-centric field.

4. How does your gender identity inform your work?

I am a woman first. My work is informed through this lens. Women are leading the giving circle movement and blazing the trail in this space and across the philanthropy sector at large. When I show up to work each day, I bring my perspective, experiences and thoughts as a woman, which is especially relevant in a women-led movement.

5. How can philanthropy support gender equity?

Philanthropy can support gender equity by investing in and supporting Black women in leadership. We must address the persistent gender inequities as well as the racial inequities in the charitable giving field. Black women are at the helm of running grassroots nonprofit organizations, yet research shows us that organizations supporting Black women and girls have been neglected. Less than one percent of philanthropic giving goes toward organizations that specifically target minority women and girls. Philanthropy can step up and not only support Black leadership, but also organizations specifically supporting Black women and girls. We need to get comfortable with calling it out to raise awareness and then do the work together to address and change the narrative and disparity.

6. In the next 10 years, where do you see gender equity movements taking us?

I see the gender equity movements flourishing and promoting a balance for better living, bridging wage disparity, offering paid maternity leave, promoting better policies and investing in young women and girls. As we march toward the next phase of gender equity, we must eliminate the barriers women face and rid ourselves of boxes that limit our potential. If we keep doing the work, 10 years from now, the next generation of young women working in everything from philanthropy to sports to policy, will be set up and paid equitably to do the necessary work in our country without jumping over hurdles.

More on Tyeshia Wilson:

Tyeshia “Ty” Wilson (she/her) is a spirited entrepreneur, philanthropist and social good advocate with more than 15 years of experience as a relationship manager. Wilson is passionate about people and service. She currently serves as Director of Engagement for Philanthropy Together, a global nonprofit democratizing and diversifying philanthropy by strengthening and scaling collective giving, and is a founding member of the HERitage Giving Fund, one of the first African-American giving circles in Texas that serves Black-led nonprofits serving Black women and girls. She holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington and a M.S. in Public Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit and Community Leadership from the University of North Texas at Dallas.

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One-third of donors directed half their giving to disaster relief | Philanthropy news

Last year, 37 percent of American donors gave half or more of their charitable contributions to disaster relief efforts, and 64 percent gave to a charity they had never supported before, a survey commissioned by Vanguard Charitable finds.

Conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Vanguard Charitable, the survey of more than 1,300 American donors found that the top reasons American donors gave to disaster relief included wanting to assist those impacted by humanitarian crises (46 percent), feeling overwhelmed by a situation and wanting to help (33 percent), seeing charitable giving as the only way they could provide support (30 percent), and having a personal connection to the disaster/crisis (30 percent). The survey found that donors who contributed to disaster relief efforts gave more overall, meaning that disaster relief giving did not take away from, or occur in place of, ongoing giving. 

“From COVID-19 to a devastating humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, we’ve seen donors respond to disaster relief needs in inspiring and meaningful ways,” said Vanguard Charitable president Rebecca Moffett. “In fact, this data reflects that disaster relief support is an integral part of the giving landscape, often increasing total generosity as donors look to give when and where support is needed most. And because the money in donor-advised funds has already been set aside for charitable purposes, donations from DAFs tend to be more responsive in moments of crisis, and more resilient during moments of economic uncertainty.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Drazen Zigic)

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Trust in nonprofits fell slightly last year, survey finds | Philanthropy news

While there is room for U.S. institutions across the board to increase public trust, a majority of respondents believe nonprofits will do what is right for society, a survey conducted by Independent Sector finds. 

Conducted in February in partnership with Edelman Data & Intelligence, the third-annual Trust in Civil Society survey found that 56 percent of Americans said they trust nonprofits, down 3 percentage points from the 2020 benchmark study (59 percent). Trust in philanthropy edged down from 36 percent to 34 percent during the same period. According to the survey, financial well-being and education are major drivers of trust, and trust of nonprofits among women fell during the pandemic.

Given the findings, Independent Sector recommended that nonprofits work to make greater progress to support and strengthen the country, for example by leveraging trust in the social sector to strengthen U.S. democracy, deepening engagement with communities and institutions, and upholding public expectations of government accountability.

“Increasing public trust of institutions and the social sector is a pressing issue for the U.S. We all benefit from strong public trust,” said Independent Sector president and CEO Daniel J. Cardinali. “Trust is the priceless currency for nonprofits, philanthropies, business charity programs, and all of us to build a healthy, equitable society. We see what happens when trust breaks. Our 2022 Independent Sector Trust in Civil Society report elevates important data and recommendations for conversations about how the social sector can engage more deeply and do better so everyone in our country thrives.” 

(Photo credit: Getty Images/SDI Productions)

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Digital, other channels of giving are expanding, study finds | Philanthropy news

Emerging trends in the United Kingdom and Brazil reveal an expansion of digital and other types of channels for giving, including online giving, crowdfunding, charity rounding up, and social impact publishing, a new research series from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI finds.

The research series, Digital for Good: A Global Study on Emerging Ways of Giving, builds on the school’s Global Philanthropy Environment Index and Global Philanthropy Tracker and will be released in phases over the next five months. The first two studies examine philanthropic engagement in Brazil and the UK prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with profiles of China, India, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, and South Korea to follow.

Based on an analysis of three case studies in Brazil, the first profile found that prominent emerging ways of giving include charity rounding up, crowdfunding, and social impact publishing, which involves the production of inspiring, revenue-producing editorial content. Donations collected through rounding up for charity via Arredondar increased from BRL1,091 in 2013 (equivalent to $590 in 2021, adjusted for inflation) to more than BRL1.6 million in 2020 (equivalent to $330,186 in 2021, adjusted for inflation). In addition, the study found that the most successful initiatives prioritized transparency and accountability in giving.

Based on an online survey of nearly 3,000 individuals in the UK, the profile found that prominent expanded methods of giving include online giving and crowdfunding. Among donors interviewed between May and July 2021, 60 percent reported that gifts they had made in the past year had been made online, with the most common way being through a third-party app. In addition, researchers found that 63 percent of people who used social media to request donations also made requests in person.

“The results of the first two country profiles suggest an evolution in giving practices and highlight a significant expansion of digital giving practices and peer-to-peer giving,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “While these findings are the first in a series, the documented growth in digital giving and shifting donor expectations in the UK and in Brazil reinforce existing evidence that digital practices can help democratize the practice of philanthropy. Digital innovation makes philanthropy accessible and fosters greater transparency and accountability for how gifts lead to impact.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

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