OVERVIEW: GWG is a women’s giving circle that supports Greenville County, South Carolina-area groups working in the areas of arts and culture, education, environment, health, and human services. Grants are awarded once per year.
FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services
IP TAKE: This is one of the larger and most influential women’s giving circles in the Southeast. Get to know who’s on the board of directors to understand how grants are given out.
PROFILE: Greenville Women Giving (GWG) is a women’s giving circle based in Greenville, South Carolina. It is a special initiative of the Community Foundation of Greenville and a member of the Women's Collective Giving Grantmakers Network. GWG was founded in 2006 based on the vision of Harriet Goldsmith and is open for membership to women who can commit to donating $1,200 per year for three years. There are over 500 women in this organization.
Topics of interest for GWG are arts and culture, education, environment, health, and human services. Arts and culture grants are focused on access and appreciation of the arts and incorporating them into multidisciplinary programs. Education grants go to programs that increase access to quality education and job training. Early childhood through higher education programs are considered. Environment grants seek to protect the region’s natural areas, teach conservation, and improve outdoor parks. Health grants support access to healthcare for everyone and ways to avoid unhealthy lifestyles. Finally, human services grants address community inequities and basic needs like food, clothing, safety.
Grants are typically awarded once per year to nonprofits that are either located in or that serve the citizens of Greenville County. Most grants range between $50,000 and $100,000 each, with at least one grant in each category typically funded each year. Since 2007, GWG has awarded over $4.8 million in grants. In recent years, the grant application period has opened in October, followed by a couple of information sessions, with a deadline around the first of December. Awards are typically made at the annual meeting in May.
One noted grant is $63,000 to the City of Greenville Police Department for a Cops on the Court program that uses basketball to reduce youth gang involvement and encourage mutual trust. Other grants have gone to Meyer Center for Special Children, Greer Community Ministries, the Family Effect, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Upstate, Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR), and the Metropolitan Arts Council. Grants awarded by year can be viewed here.
The giving circle regularly hosts events on topics like foster care and recyclable materials. There are usually around 27 board members, including multiple co-chairs and a grants review committee. GWG has a goal to raise $5 million for its endowment by 2026, but contributions to the endowment are not a requirement of giving circle membership. The group’s primary goal is to return members’ donations to the community in the same year they are given.
General questions can be directed to the board via online form or to 864-361-1393. The funder’s mailing address is 630 E. Washington Street, Suite A, Greenville, South Carolina 29601. Keep up with giving circle news here.