Thursday, March 30, 2006

Giving Circles

Mapgirl wrote an interesting post last week about Korean gehs (i.e., raising capital to fund community micro loans) and then a follow up post in response to some questions that were raised by a commenter. One of my aunts participated in an investing community a few years ago on the advice of her slightly untrustworthy brother. And she wound up losing a substantial amount of money because some of the other investors in her community defaulted on their obligations. But let me hasten to add that my aunt didn't know the other investors very well. So, mapgirl is right in saying that the concept of an investing community is a good one, so long as you know and trust the other investors. The same concept applies in nearly any business venture, including partnerships. But I digress.

I don't know of any folks my age (Gen X) who are involved in either a geh or an investment club. But I do know of some folks who were a part of a 'giving circle', which is similar in concept to a geh in the sense that a group of friends pool their resources together to raise capital. But instead of lending the money to individual members, the circle functioned as a mini foundation, distributing money to worthy causes.

Every month or so, the group would meet to talk about various charitable organizations they wanted to support and why (e.g., goals, values, impact, efficient use of resources, etc.). If, at the end of the meeting, they were in agreement on one or more organizations, they would arrange to have some of the money from the collective pool of funds transferred to those organizations. It's a novel twist on an old concept.

I don't know about you, but I just love the thought of people pooling their resources together to help accomplish something greater than what they could have done by themselves. And I especially love the give and take and learning process that occurs when people dialogue with one another about issues that they care about. In a way, the personal finance blogging community does that as well. We trade tips and advice with one another, in addition to providing accountability and moral support.

So, many thanks to all of the trailblazing pf bloggers out there. As a relative newbie to the community, I'm reaping the benefits of your hard work. And a special thanks to the experienced bloggers who have taken the time to visit my blog and post comments. I'm immensely grateful.

1 comment:

mapgirl said...

This is a really beautiful idea. There's a synergy from doing things collectively (like PFBlogging).