Why I Give

"Circle of Giving" Inspires Passion
in Donors

by Jeanne Schnitzer Reynolds

As I see more people I know deal with illness, I have become saddened and frustrated by the lack of answers available to us. If we do not have our health, life cannot be enjoyed to the fullest. I feel the need to act to do something positive and helpful. That is why contributions to medical research and health centers have become my primary philanthropic focus.

The Circle of Giving at the OHSU Center for Women’s Health has given me the opportunity to act in a way that is very meaningful to me. The circle is a group of women who commit an annual $5,000 gift to underwrite special center programs and initiatives. Once a year we meet to hear presentations by physicians and scientists from the center and to vote as a group on which project will receive our grant money. We get the chance to make a difference in women’s lives and to create medical history. At other times of the year, we are given the opportunity to participate in continuing education programs about medical and philanthropic issues.

Groups of donors pooling their money and agreeing on how to award it is a new trend, according to a recent article in The New York Times. The newspaper reported that donors are more focused in their philanthropy when they are directly involved in the organizations and causes they want to help. They enjoy being proactive, not reactive.

This ability to be proactive is what the Circle of Giving offers its members. The recent grant-making evaluation day was exhilarating! With the help of the medical and development team, we fashioned a day that went like clockwork. The women were intelligent, warm and gregarious. The presentations and discussion that followed were fascinating. We all felt the project we selected to support could be life changing. We felt empowered. We felt proud.