Shared Gifting

Shared Gifting is a collaborative granting model that gives ownership, distribution, and allocation authority for gift money to the participants of the Shared Gifting circle.


As part of transforming the way the world works with money, RSF’s goal is to transform the field of philanthropy by bringing collaboration, transparency, and community wisdom into the grantmaking process.

By moving control of grant funds from the donor to the organizations, trust, accountability, reciprocity, and community are created in a way that is outside of traditional philanthropic models. The Shared Gifting process is an effective and engaged way of disbursing grant funds. By having no directed outcomes or objectives for how the recipients use the money, the group is called upon to use its collaborative wisdom to determine the best use of the funds. It also frees the recipients to create mutually beneficial relationship-based collaborations not likely in typical competitive models

The origin of the Shared Gifting concept came from a Wisconsin philanthropist and anthroposophist Elise O. Casper who felt that her own personal determination should not direct the gift stream. RSF has been supporting this “fund sharing” model of granting through the Mid States Shared Gifting Program for over 15 years.

Read this article on Shared Gifting that was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Shared Gifting Circles

Art Service Organizations in Los Angeles, 2015


In January of 2015, RSF held its fourth Shared Gifting circle in Los Angeles, CA. RSF partnered with two borrower clients, 18th Street Arts Center and LA Stage Alliance, to bring together six organizations focused on providing service and infrastructure support to the arts community. During a full day meeting these groups shared their personal stories, reviewed grant proposals, and allocated $50,000 to support each other’s work. Visit the Reimagine Money Blog to learn more about this meeting.

Sustainable Food and Agriculture in Philadelphia, 2014


In the fall of 2014, RSF hosted our 3rd Shared Gifting circle in Philadelphia, PA. Twelve local sustainable food and agriculture non-profits participated, sharing a pool of $100,000. This group came ready to collaborate and ended up putting aside a portion of the money to raise matching funding to support their work together! To read more visit our Reimagine Money Blog.

Sustainable Food and Agriculture in Skagit County, 2013


In the fall of 2013, RSF held its second Shared Gifting circle in Skagit County, WA. Eight local non-profits, in the field of sustainable Food and Agriculture, were invited to participate in the collaborative granting process to allocate a pool of $120,000. Visit the Reimagine Money Blog to learn more about this meeting.

Sustainable Food & Agriculture in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2011

Shared Gifting Meeting_Feb2011 Group Shot 2

In February of 2011, RSF hosted the first Shared Gifting circle in the area of sustainable Food and Agriculture in the San Francisco Bay Area. These groups met to collectively allocate $50,000 in a day-long process of sharing and collaboration. Read our Spring of 2011 Newsletter to learn more about this meeting.

Waldorf Schools in the Mid-States Region, 1986 – current

shared gift waldorf

The original Shared Gifting circle began with a group of 12 Waldorf Schools in the Mid-States Region of the U.S. This group has been meeting since 1986 to share challenges, successes, lessons learned, and to collaboratively allocate grant funds between the schools. You can learn more about this group in an article titled, Mid-States Shared Gifting: A Circle of Generosity

What is Shared Gifting?

At every opportunity RSF is looking for ways to leverage community knowledge and authority over decisions about the fund.  We ask our community of borrowers, grantees, donors, and investors to nominate organizations doing great work in their field. Nominees are then invited to submit a proposal. A cross disciplinary group at RSF reviews the proposals and selects the final group of participants.

After careful pre-meeting work, including interviews with all the participants and sharing the proposals between the participants, the meeting includes the following key elements: personal stories, organizational stories, review and discussion of each other’s proposals and needs, grant allocations, and finally an open gifting process. After the meeting RSF sends a follow up survey to get feedback on the process from the participants. RSF also helps facilitate any future group commitments or follow up items from the meeting.

RSF published a White Paper on the Shared Gifting model titled, Shared Gifting: Transforming the Dynamics of Philanthropy. This paper describes the history of Shared Gifting, the first circle held in the Bay Area, while exploring the social and historical context of the philanthropic field in the U.S.

Read the RSF White Paper on the Shared Gifting model

Read the Executive Summary of the White Paper

Help Support the Growth of Shared Gifting

The Shared Gifting Program depends upon on philanthropic support to continue this innovative and challenging work. RSF is seeking funds to support Shared Gifting in each of our focus areas.

If you are interested in donating to this fund or learning more about the shared gifting process, visit our donations page or contact Kelley Buhles at or 415.561.6152.

Thank you to our Donors!

We would like to thank our Donors who have made Shared Gifting possible: the Free Farm, Marin Organic, San Francisco Waldorf School, Partners for Sustainable Pollination, the AnJeL Fund, the Flow Fund, Elaine Cornick and Roy Shankman.

Other Resources

Read this feature article on Shared Gifting in the Chronicle of Philanthropy

Read about the origin of the Shared Gifting model

Read the RSF White Paper on the Shared Gifting model

Read the Executive Summary of the White Paper

Read about the Barn Dance that was held as a result of the Shared Gifting Group

Mid States Shared Gifting Program

Please note that this fund will not accept unsolicited grant proposals. Please do not contact RSF if you are seeking a grant from this fund.

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