Aurora Women's Giving Circle


What is the Aurora Women’s Giving Circle and how does it work?

The Aurora Women’s Giving Circle is a group of motivated women who pool their resources, work collaboratively, and through a democratic process grant money to one or more worthy organizations supporting women and girls in Greater Hartford.

Individuals who sign up to participate each contribute $500 (this can be paid in installments). Half of that sum is earmarked for the grant making pool of funds and the other half is used in direct support of Aurora’s mission.  During scheduled meetings, members will work together to discuss objectives, identify potential grantees, learn how to evaluate grant proposals and finally, decide which proposals to fund.

Membership is one year in duration.  At the end of the year, participants may opt to renew membership in the circle, or to simply use their new understanding to become more effective donors to the organizations they support.

What is the time commitment?

We anticipate a total of 4-5 annual meetings. Each meeting will last roughly 1-1.5 hours.  The 2018 Women’s Giving Circle is already underway but it’s not too late to join.  The remaining meetings for the year are Friday, May 18, Wednesday, September 12 and Wednesday, November 7.  Meetings are at 12:00 p.m. at the University of Saint Joseph.

What will I get out of it?

The group dynamic of a giving circle provides social networking, leadership development, peer support, personal engagement, learning opportunities and the chance to collaborate with other women who share your values.


“Participating in the Aurora Women’s Giving Circle enlightened me to the issues and challenges faced by women and girls in my community.  Equally enlightening was to learn of the amazing heroes that work hard to address these issues and offer a brighter future to those in need.” -Lori Pennito, 2017 Women’s Giving Circle member


Congratulations to the 2017 Aurora Women’s Giving Circle who voted to award a grant to Family Life Education’s Crianza con Carino Program which aims to improve parental practices in the home and to emphasize positive discipline and engagement between parents and their children.

2017 Women’s Giving Circle Members

Janet Bailey Faude

Sharon Barrett

Lori Budnick

Carlene Bush

Eleanor Caplan

Marie Clark

Ellen Coco

Jeanmarie Cooper

Kyra Dorsey

Margaret Heiner

Jill Kovalich

Susan Lane

Elizabeth Matern

Karraine Moody

Carle Mowell

Ann Newbury

Lori Pennito

Lori Theriault

Betsy Wynnick

Background about women’s giving circles

Since the 1990s American women have collaborated to create change through giving circles: change in the way women approach philanthropy and change in the world around them. By connecting with one another, the participants become thoughtful philanthropists who collaborate to assume responsibility to leave the world a better place.

Decades later, founding members remain committed to their giving circle causes. They continue to use the control they have found over their lives to go forward confidently and courageously with their philanthropy. At the Aurora Foundation we celebrate their dynamic entrepreneurial leadership, and we proudly support our giving circle each year to contribute to positive change for women and girls in Greater Hartford.

Interested in the Aurora Foundation’s next giving circle?