More than just a Giving Circle

Irina Novikova

Giving Circles are a relatively new phenomenon in Russia and are introducing people not only to giving, but also to the idea of philanthropy as community development

In 2016, Eugenie Harvey from The Funding Network (UK) came to Moscow to introduce Giving Circles to Russian community philanthropy organisations. We at Charitable Foundation for Philanthropy Development (which at that time was CAF Russia) were inspired by the idea and felt that they would perfectly fit the ethos of community foundations, with whom we had worked closely for many years. Four community foundations were bold enough to try – in the Russian cities of Arkhangelsk, Pskov and Togliatti, and the small rural settlement of Pryazha in the region of Karelia.

We supported a study visit to London so they could see Giving Circles in action, following which the first four pilot circles were held in 2018. Each raised from 90-300,000 rubles (approximately $1,450-$4,800) for the support of local projects. Each was held in a different region with a distinctive local culture and different level of resources and their overall success proved that the model worked for pretty much any community.

Since then, Giving Circles have spread throughout the country, with more than 60 events taking place in large cities and small settlements. In total, more than six million rubles ($94,500) were collected at Giving Circles in 2021-22.

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