In recent years, giving circles have ignited the philanthropic landscape in North America. By bringing together like-minded individuals with similar ambitions, giving circles provide an opportunity for donors to pool their finances and support their communities with a greater impact.
In 2016, Seneca formed its first giving circle, The King Township Women of Influence. United through their affinity for the King community, the group of women is striving to make a difference for the students at King Campus.
The King Township Women of Influence giving circle is also an opportunity for women to network and build relationships. The diverse group includes entrepreneurs, leaders in business, local councillors and senior members of major organizations.
“Providing our young people with a postsecondary education at an institution that is part of their community is important for keeping our young adults in our community,” said Avia Eek, Councillor, Ward 6, King Township and member of the giving circle. “By participating in the giving circle, we have the opportunity to have a positive financial impact on the students, programs, services, and facilities at King Campus.”
The giving circle meets three or four times per year. This past spring, the circle met in King to watch pitch presentations on three projects that they could choose to support with this year’s funding. After the presentations, the women came together to discuss the initiatives and decided that they wanted their gift to fund the project that would have the greatest impact on students and the community.
While a majority vote could have chosen the winner, the decision was unanimous: The Veterinary Technician program’s pain-free practice project was awarded the inaugural grant. With the giving circle’s funds, simulated animal models will be purchased for the program allowing students to practice veterinary skills on a model, such as administering injections and taking blood, before performing them on a live animal.
This fall, the giving circle will visit King Campus to see the impact of their gift firsthand. They will tour the Veterinary Technician program’s facilities and watch the students practice their techniques with the animal models.
“How amazing that women, who were relative strangers, are willing to come together, pool their financial resources and create opportunities for students that did not exist before,” says Kelly Mathews, Manager of Community Recreation, Camps and the Outdoor Centre at Seneca and one of the first members of the circle. “This happens not because anyone has to be here, but because these women believe that by working together, they can have a positive impact on the academic experience of the students in their community. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?”