Giving circle’s Meet the Finalists event showcased nonprofits, social change strategies

On November 15, members of ninety-nine girlfriends collective women’s giving circle gathered at Artists Repertory Theatre for a special “Meet the Finalists” event, at which the five committees charged with selecting finalists for the $100,000 Impact Award, and representatives from the nonprofits themselves, presented their cases. The five finalists included Friends of Zenger Farms; Street Roots; Gateway to College PDX Bridge; The Circus Project; and Family Forward Oregon.

The presentations included an explanation of whether the project in mind had the effect of meeting immediate needs (give a man a fish), providing an individual or family with the means to create change for themselves (teach a man to fish), or effecting systems change (ensure fishing rights for all). The ninety-nine girlfriends refer to these strategies as “Social Change 1.0, Social Change 2.0, and Social Change 3.0,” and stress that no single strategy is more important or valid than another.

Ninety-nine girlfriends began recruiting in April 2016, as a fiscally sponsored project of GRANTMAKERS of Oregon and Southwest Washington. The initial membership goal was 100 women, hence the name (“you and your 99 new girlfriends”). They surpassed that goal, recruiting 117 women to the cause of making a $100,000 impact award to effect change at a local level. The winner of the main grant is Gateway to College PDX Bridge, and the other four finalists received a $4250 finalist award out of the excess funds raised by having additional members and donors.

To learn more about the projects, see the Meet the Finalists Voters Guide and visit the ninety-nine girlfriends website to read their press release, or see the write up inĀ The Oregonian. If you are interested in joining the giving circle, contact Deborah Edward at