Giving Circles combine resources for bigger impact

By Juliette Coulter

Photo by David Leeson
Pictured above are, from left to right, Diane Reeves, Lisa Montgomery, Paige Flink, The Family Place CEO, Shonn Brown, Vera Ingram and Sherri Crosby Wheeler.

The Village Giving Circle at Dallas Women’s Foundation, which started this spring, has presented its first grants to organizations and initiatives that positively impact the African-American community in North Texas. At a reception at Hotel ZaZa on Nov. 4, the group gave grants to nine nonprofits totaling $122,000.

The grants included the following:

• The Family Place: $25,000

• Big Thought: $20,000

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas: $20,000

• Paul Quinn College: $20,000

• City Square: $10,000

• The Compelling Why: $10,000

• Accion, Inc.: $7,000

• Dallas Black Dance Theatre: $5,000

• New Friends New Life: $5,000

A. Shonn Brown and Lisa Montgomery serve as co-chairs of The Village Giving Circle. Additional founding officers include Cheryl Alston, Christa Brown-Sanford, Annika Cail, Frances Cudjoe-Waters, Vera Ingram and Diane Reeves. Brown is chair-elect of Dallas Women’s Foundation’s board of directors, and Montgomery, Alston and Reeves are board members.

Brown said: “I am just blown away by the generosity of everyone. In less than a year, our group has raised $122,000, researched the organizations, and is now giving these grants to strengthen the work they’re doing for the African-American community.”

The mission of The Village Giving Circle is to honor, sustain and expand the legacy of African-American women’s philanthropy by funding organizations and initiatives that positively impact the African-American community in North Texas. Members focus their collective resources on local community organizations that are led by African Americans and/or serve the needs of the African-American community throughout North Texas. In addition to providing financial support to selected organizations, The Village membership seeks to elevate awareness of issues, initiatives and efforts that affect or support African-Americans living and working in North Texas.

Shawn Wills, Dallas Women’s Foundation senior vice president – development, said: “Giving circles are growing in popularity as a means for individuals with shared interests or cultures to combine their resources in order to make a larger impact on issues and organizations impacting their interests or cultures. We applaud the efforts of The Village Giving Circle and the amazing success and momentum they’ve achieved in their first year.”

Montgomery added: “In addition to raising funds for organizations, we also hold social and networking events, as well as offer educational opportunities focused on philanthropy and social issues. We invite those interested in The Village Giving Circle to contact us.”

Dallas Women’s Foundation hosts three giving circles: The Village Giving Circle, HERitage Giving Fund and Orchid Giving Circle.

For more information about The Village Giving Circle, visit or email

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