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THE PHILADELPHIA CHAPTER GIVING CIRCLE

A Tribute to Dr. Ethel Schwartz Weinberg


Dr. Ethel Schwartz Weinberg and Mary Klein founded TTN Philadelphia’s Giving Circle. Of course this was only one of Ethel’s many accomplishments. 

The idea was an extension of Ethel’s family model of teaching her children and grandchildren about fiscal responsibility to themselves and to others. On special occasions, Ethel’s grandchildren receive gifts of money. They could spend one-third on themselves, bank or invest a third in planning for their future and the remaining third would be given to a cause of their choosing, with the caveat that they research what that would be. They would then be asked to articulate why they had chosen this particular organization or group.

The Philadelphia Transition Network Giving Circle was an extension of this vision, and Ethel was determined that donations would be used in service rather than being eaten up by administration. She found that donations of $10,000 or more to The Philadelphia Foundation would allow the donor/s to direct where the money should go. The original contributors to the Giving Circle determined that the funds would support nonprofit organizations benefiting women or children in Philadelphia.

All members of TTN Philadelphia who believe in the “Power of Collective Giving” are encouraged to join the Giving Circle. Contributors who donate a minimum of $200 each year attend a meeting in May and hear captivating presentations from grant finalists. They then vote to select the nonprofit that will receive the award for that year. Contributors who want to become more involved in the donor selection process by reviewing grant applications and going on site visits are urged to join the Grants Committee. In addition, Giving Circle contributors may join the Membership Engagement, Public Relations and/or Fundraising/Events committees.

The first grant of $10,000 was given in 2013 to Valley Youth House. Subsequent awards were made to the People’s Emergency Center (2014); Penn’s Village Health Plus (2015); New Leash on Life (2016). As the Giving Circle contributors have expanded to more than one hundred, there have been additional fundraisers, including a fashion show, and an evening at the theater followed by an audience with the playwright. More recent grants have been $15,000 to Rebuilding Together Philadelphia (2017); $20,000 to Turning Points for Children (2018) , and $25,000 to PA Senior Law Center (2019). The Giving Circle brings us together working towards a common goal of giving back, while learning first hand where and who our efforts will help, while forging deep friendships among its members. If you are not already a contributor, please write Carol Cunningham, TTN Philadelphia Giving Circle Chair (carol.d.cunningham@gmail.com) to receive information about upcoming meetings and events. 

Ethel, we thank you for your LEADERSHIP, DRIVE and CLARITY to pull things together. You were a DYNAMO whose lasting legacy is to make a real difference in people’s lives. You made the world a better place. 

Dr. Weinberg passed away at age 83 Wednesday, March 4 2020, of melanoma at her home.  You may read her obituary here.

Joan Zylkin and Susanne Kaplan March 2020