Giving Circles: Making a Collective Difference

An Interview with Adam Compton

Why Giving Circles (as a philanthropic vehicle)?
Giving circles are a vehicle that can allow young professionals to come together to make a large scale push that makes an impact, and have a seat at the table. Often, nonprofits don’t know what to do with us, and this allows us to have important, educational conversations. We want to have an opportunity to be advocates, champions and work for the nonprofits to garner more support. We want to use our collective resources to help move the needle on projects. We also want to be able to give nonprofits a grant and tell them to go try something new! If they fail, they fail, but at least they took a risk – it’s important for funders to tell that story.

For the Longleaf Collective, it started with small group of friends that came together to see how we could get young professionals together to make an impact. Our gifts are smaller, we aren’t major gift givers, and we aren’t our parent’s generation either – we want to make a social impact, but we weren’t sure how to do that. This provided us that option.

What is the Longleaf Collective’s Goal?
Our overall goal is to produce philanthropic leaders. Everyone can be a philanthropist on their own level, and we can go out and transform our community together. Also, it is really important to us that we offer an education on the issues. For example, this year, we are focusing on poverty and we have narrowed that down to mental health. Doing this allows us to have an opportunity to learn and educate ourselves, and others, on these big local issues.Currently we are in the membership building phase; this year we are doing a micro-grant; and hope to someday be in a $20,000+ grant phase, but right now we are in a great place to come together and learn more about the community.

Why did you want to Get Involved?
I work as a major gifts officer in my day job, and see the power of transformational major gifts every day, I personally see how that can change a life. But when I talk to my peers, they don’t often see that. That really drew me to this idea – the ability to help my friends see this collective change that can happen, to make a transformational impact. I want to see more young professionals giving – not just money, but time and resources to face the big issues here in Raleigh. To learn more about the Longleaf Collective, visit

I want to see more young professionals giving - not just money, but time and resources to face the big issues here in Raleigh.