A word from FGM – February 2024

Philanthropy is a major economic driver in Quebec. According to Imagine Canada, the nonprofit sector accounts for more than 10% of the province’s GDP, with $43.2 billion in economic impact annually. In 2021, 46% of Quebecers made a least one donation to a charitable organization. And philanthropy’s power goes beyond its economic impact, of course, since it provides support for initiatives and causes that we all care about.

In immigrant and cultural communities, the tradition of giving is deeply rooted, as we pointed out in a previous post. The average donation made by Quebecers born abroad, or whose parents were born abroad, is in fact a bit higher than the provincial average1. But what is missing is the leveraging effect that would allow these donors to maximize the impact of their generosity. All too often, the philanthropic infrastructure is inadequate, or is not suited to their needs.

Giving circles overcome this problem by bringing together around a common project or specific cause a number of people who share the same values and goals. This approach offers several advantages, the first being the pooling of resources, which multiplies the positive impacts generated by individual donations. The Foundation of Greater Montréal’s WIM Fund (Fonds FAM) is one example, as is 100 Women Who Care. Our colleagues at the Hamilton Community Foundation also facilitate several giving circles.

As well, this philanthropic strategy enables networking, learning, skills development and the emergence of a collective and strategic intelligence that supports informed decision-making. New ideas and new leaders may come forward as well. Thus, giving circles turn out to be virtuous circles too!

Band together to give better

Through their collective and democratic ways, these tools also serve as an antidote to traditional philanthropy’s vertical approaches. Groups and communities long marginalized or neglected can use them to grow in synergy with their identity and their values. The flexibility of giving circles allows these groups to respond more easily and rapidly to the needs they have identified, and thus make a real difference.

This kind of structure allows for a division of labour according to the strengths, interests and expertises of the donors. Through the pooling of resources, it also enables reductions in management costs. Community foundations like FGM exist precisely in order to support donors as they embark on such an adventure. By taking on the administrative aspects, we allow them to focus on making their projects succeed.

In philanthropy, it is often said that “there is no such thing as a small gift”. That is true, but when we collaborate with others, then we can dream bigger. Or, to put it another way: you go faster by yourself…but you go further with others. If this way of doing things speaks to you, get in touch with us!

1 Mise au point philanthropique Québec, Épisode philanthropie & investissement communautaire, 2021.

Linda Tchombé
Director of Philanthropic Development
Foundation of Greater Montréal

FGM’s Stories of the Month

February 2024

The Fonds Fondation Ruben Antoine pour l’élévation financière

This fund promotes the creation of wealth in disadvantaged communities.

Read on

The Association hispano-québécoise de la Montérégie

The AHQM is a meeting place where Quebec and Latino cultures blend.

Read on

Webinar on community philanthropy

For the Rendez-vous de la FGM, a talk about philanthropy among racialized communities (in French).

Read on

Making philanthropy accessible to everyone

An interview on the NéoQuébec radio show (in French) to demystify community philanthropy.

Listen to the Dec. 10 interview