RSF Social Finance Releases Philanthropy White Paper

November 2, 2012

We’re pleased to announce the release of a new white paper, Shared Gifting: Transforming the Dynamics of Philanthropy. This paper, authored by Kelley Buhles, RSF Senior Program Manager of Philanthropic Services, examines the current state of philanthropy and proposes a new collaborative approach to grant making.

Buhles explores the historical and social context that has shaped philanthropy in America and examines the roots of the current structures and dynamics in order to understand why they exist and what impact they have had on the effectiveness of the field.

The paper also introduces a new approach to grant making that creates community and fosters collaboration, one that reflects both ancestral gifting practice and new economic and social structures. This approach, called Shared Gifting, brings grantees together to share a pool of money and gives them the power to distribute the funds among each other based upon shared understanding. RSF hosted its first round of Shared Gifting in San Francisco in 2011 as a direct philanthropic services program. Since 1998, RSF has managed the innovative Mid-States Shared Gifting Program which serves the central region of the U.S.

“When I share the concept of Shared Gifting with peers in philanthropy, I’m often met with disbelief and skepticism,” says Buhles. “The reaction made me curious about the assumptions present in the field. This paper is an exploration into how those assumptions and practices might be transformed.”

Click here to download a copy of the white paper.

To learn more about Shared Gifting at RSF visit

Or contact Kelley Buhles, Senior Program Manager, Philanthropic Services

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