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members of Denver's first all Black women's giving circle

Black Philanthropy Month: SPIN, A Black Women’s Giving Circle

// August 14, 2020

Guest Blog: SPIN Is Denver’s First All-Black Women’s Giving Circle and Powerful Philanthropic Collective

My name is Micheline Merriwether. I am an institutional trader for investment advisors, investment banking firms, and broker dealers. I am a tenacious individual who takes advantage of any opportunity to learn new skills. I diligently believe leadership is a privilege and learning from every woman I encounter is a way of life.

SPIN is my approach to a greater impact

SPIN (Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs) is my approach to a greater impact. SPIN is the first all-Black women’s giving circle in Denver and it’s housed at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. SPIN enables the charitable activities of individual African-American women to be a powerful philanthropic collective within and outside of our communities.

This is my first year as a SPIN member and to see what we have done since coronavirus hit the U.S. makes me even more honored to be a part of this giving circle. Recently, as a way to emphasize Black Philanthropy, SPIN partnered with Collaborative Healing Initiative within Communities (CHIC) to create a community micro-grant fund and raised $10,000 within 24 hours.

Historically, African-American philanthropy includes many organizations whose purpose have been multi-faceted: from humanitarian aid to self-help, black colleges, hospitals and insurance companies; to social change, fighting for the abolishment of slavery and later to end barriers to racial equality.

“Philanthropy is commendable but it must not cause the philanthropists to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our Black women’s giving circle promotes unity, growth, advancement

A common story among all giving circles is our contribution for community unity, growth, and advancement. This growth provides opportunities for new forms of Black philanthropy. As communities live longer, we’re making significant shifts from “survival” and need-based strategies of giving, done on an emergency basis, to giving from a concern with “inheritance,” motivated by desires to help improve the quality of life in our community. For instance: Black venture philanthropy used by capitalists when investing in new business ideas. Another example is Black investment clubs, groups of people who pool their money to make investments, such as the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission).

As more Black Americans become visibly involved in philanthropy, start foundations, and open donor-advised funds, a movement has emerged to encourage us to give more strategically to drive long-term systemic change on persistent issues that affect the Black community and leave legacies.

August is Black Philanthropy Month and over the years SPIN has developed ways to promote our charity in communities of color to mark this occasion. This year we will adopt two local DPS elementary schools. SPIN also uses “Party with a Purpose” to engage our community in what it is to be a philanthropist through simple acts of giving. This move not only raises important questions, but also leaves significant footprints about the ways that communities will choose to manage their giving as they accumulate wealth and expand Black Philanthropy.

In my opinion, there isn’t a force more powerful than women uniting for a meaningful change. SPIN is a philanthropic group that does not only enrich communities, but also our lives.

SPIN group photo credit: Richard Lo Photography

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is a nonpartisan organization. The opinions of guest bloggers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of The Foundation.  




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