Krista Scully and Tlisa Northcutt founded the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle Fund, where donors place their charitable contributions in a pooled fund and decide as a group which nonprofits to support.

The fund was established years after a discussion at the Alaska Humanities Forum Leadership Anchorage program, the women said.

“We were part of a discussion about social capital within the context of an article called Bowling Alone that asserts that social capital has declined over the generations. Because of her work in development, Tlisa resisted that idea and invited others to join her in thinking through an idea of group philanthropy called giving circles,” Krista said. “The idea intrigued me because I had been donating money my whole life but had never been fully strategic in giving or been able to make sizeable gifts. Being part of a giving circle afforded me both of those advantages.”

Tlisa said, “The place where we are in our lives, we may not be able to give a lot, but collectively, we can make an impact.”

The circle has been able to provide heating to a shelter, meals to the homeless, bikes for transportation, personal products for people may not have had access to new undergarments, haircuts and dental assistance.

Working with The Alaska Community Foundation makes the circle easy to manage, the women said. “The math is taken care of, money is invested in our best interest, people can give online, receive tax deductions and all the other little details that giving often entails,” Krista said.

In 2019, the Giving Circle surpassed $100,000 in grants made to nonprofit organizations based in Alaska.