Friday, September 01, 2006

Giving Circle Book Group: Books by Women Visionaries and Their Organizations

I've posted a couple of times about giving circles, groups of people who get together to learn about an organization's work, and pool their donations to have a greater impact. Because I love to read, I've been thinking it would be cool to have a Giving Circle Book Group where the group reads an inspiring book by a nonprofit, or an individual affiliated with a nonprofit, and then gives to that cause.

If you're interested, here is a starter list of books by visionary women and their organizations:

Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam by Zainab Salbi and Laurie Becklund. Salbi is the President of Women for Women International, an organization that helps women affected by war to rebuild their lives.

With All Our Strength by Anne Brodsky. Brodsky documents the inside story of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). According to their site, "RAWA is the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977."

Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women, an anthology edited by Paula Goldman for the International Museum of Women.

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall. Jane Goodall has founded so many things including the Jane Goodall Institute, and Roots and Shoots, a community service program for young people. (This was my favorite book of 2005).

Paradigm Found: Leading and Managing for Positive Change by Anne Firth Murray. Murray founded the Global Fund for Women.

Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe. Mother and daughter founded the Small Planet Fund to support the citizen-led solutions that they document in their book. (2006 isn't over yet, but so far this is my favorite book of the year).

Book cover image via Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative.


  1. Hi Britt, This is my first time reading your blog, but I love this idea. What a great way to give back with your social group. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Anonymous7:18 PM

    Just found your blog via Treehugger. I'm enjoying every post!
    Your reading list is inspirational and I appreciated the reminder of Jane Goodall's relatively new book. I'm on a food book streak lately started by the Omnivore's Dilema.
    thanks for the great blog!

  3. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Britt, As Founder of (new beta-blog is now live re: media/marketing's impact on kids) I must tell you that "Have Fun, Do Good" has kept me 'going' each time I feel disheartened about the colossal effort of my new venture. Each time it lands in my e-mail via FeedBlitz it sparks me to forge I hope YOU consider yourself part of "the Giving Circle" of visionaries too!

    Another stellar woman along these lines is my pal Betsy Brill who has been doing important work in the Congo.

    Her "6 minutes of fame" for her incredible "A Tale of Two Sewing Machines" project w/Congolese women will take place tmrw. on View from the Bay, S.F. (9/5 ABC 7 PST 3-4pm) as she says "tucked somewhere between makeovers & recipes."

    She's done amazing things with microloans/biz aid under extreme circumstances all over the world from India to the Congo and is a 'have fun/do good' gal if ever I saw one.

    Here's more on her Congo project:

    World Institute for Sustainable Humanity (AWISH)is her fiscal agent right now on this project---She's such an unbelievable person. My friend Brad at did a podcast of her work in the Congo too, housed on his site. (he interviewed her while she was over there via Skype!)

    Anyway, she's a whole 'post' of her own...whew. Love your blog, hope mine proves as helpful to others as yours has. Best, Amy

  4. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Hi Britt,

    Firstly, on behalf of the Imagining Ourselves team, at the International Museum of Women, I would like to thank you for including the Imagining Ourselves Anthology in your Giving Circle Book Group. The success of Paula's book would not be possible without its special mentions from "bloggers" like you. So, thank you, thank you, thank, you!

    Second, we are currently posting a global Call for Submissions for women artists between ages 20 and 40 to submit artwork for future installations of the Imagining Ourselves online exhibit. Would you be interested in posting our Official Call for Submissions. No pressure. We do thank you for the publicity you've already given us.

    Email me at if you are able to post our flyer and I will email you the appropriate information. Thanks, again!


    Kathryn Robinson
    Imagining Ourselves
    International Museum of Women
    PO Box 190038
    San Francisco, CA 94119
    telephone: +1 415-543-4669
    telefax: +1 415-543-4668

  5. Wow! Thanks for all of your kind comments. They mean a lot to me.

    Amy, unfortunately I missed your friend on TV last night. I am a bit behind on my email. I will check out her site, and once I get my digital recorder up and running to record via phone, I may contact you for an introduction so that I can interview her for my podcast.

    Liz, Ominvore's dilemma is on my to read list, too.

  6. Our giving circle has had a "book circle" for several years. We read books that help us understand the populations we serve (via grantmaking and direct service). Some of our favorite titles have been, "Nickled & Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich, about minimum wage workers, "Begging for Change" by Robert Egger, founder of the DC Central Kitchen, and "Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope" by Jonathan Kozol. We also read books that have to do with general philanthropy and social justice. Only a dozen of our 100 members participate, but it has been meaningful for those who have.

    We actively assist others who wish to form giving circles. For more info, visit or contact us at

  7. Anonymous2:52 AM

    I am a consultant for individuals and organizations that want to create positive change through their careers and personal interests.
    Wide Circles


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