Forum on collective giving by women starts in Charlotte

Female philanthropists from across the country are gathering in Charlotte Thursday for a national leadership forum organized by the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network.

The three-day event, set at The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge in south Charlotte, is hosted by Charlotte’s Women’s Impact Fund, which is considered a model among collective grant-making groups.

WCGN is a national umbrella for female donors who pool their money for charitable giving and represents 44 groups in 23 states. Those groups have a combined membership of nearly 10,000 women and have given nearly $70 million in grants to nonprofits throughout the country. More than 325 women are expected to attend the Charlotte forum.

Charlotte was selected to host this year’s conference because Women’s Impact Fund is one of the largest groups of female philanthropists in the country, with more than 400 members. To date, it has made 54 grants totaling nearly $4.2 million for charity programs focused on health, education and the environment.

This is the first time the WCGN National Leadership Forum has been convened on the East Coast.

Darla Moore, former vice president of Rainwater Inc., a private investment company, will serve as keynote speaker. Moore is also founder and chair of the Palmetto Institute, a nonprofit think tank aimed at bolstering per capita income in South Carolina, and founder and chair of The Charleston Parks Conservancy, a foundation focused on enhancing the parks and public spaces in Charleston.

She has invested or donated approximately $130 million of her own money into projects that benefit her home state of South Carolina.

Other national leaders participating in the event include Nancy Brinker, the founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Molly Barker, the local founder of Girls on the Run.