Lantern League FAQ

What is a women's giving circle?

The Lantern League is a women’s giving circle – a group of like-minded, dedicated women who raise money, pool resources, and grant money. The Lantern League consistently adds new members – to ‘grow’ young women as philanthropists.

Why is Lantern League a "women's circle" and not just a giving circle?

Currently women control more than 51% of America’s wealth; in the next ten years that number will grow substantially. Evidence reveals that women are attracted to specific causes and give for different reasons than men. The priorities of most women are health, education, and the environment. They want their money used to make an impact in the lives of people. They want to see results, and they want to be involved in the organizations they support — rather than just write a check. In many marriages, men still control where the philanthropic money goes. “Women must learn to give in their own name — in parity with their spouse — to causes that support their values and be recognized as role models of philanthropy. This will cause a ripple effect for the good.”

The mission of this circle is to support education for women and girls. Why this narrow focus?

Seventy percent of world poverty impacts women and children. Less than 10% of philanthropic dollars goes to causes directly and exclusively impacting women and girls. Women, in particular, should be very alarmed by these statistics and must seek change! Education is the key factor for raising the quality of life for women everywhere. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize Laureate leader of Burma’s democracy movement said: “The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.” Besides raising funds for worthy causes, the secondary purpose of the circle is to educate its members about philanthropy and finances.

Why is Presentation High School mentioned as an option for the money I donate?

The Lantern League was originally founded by two women who work at Presentation High School. The mission of the school is to provide education for young women, therefore the stated purpose of the school coincides exactly with the mission of this circle. On a practical level, rather that focus time, energy and resources on establishing a separate foundation to gain 501(C) (3) status (a lengthy, complex, and potentially expensive process,) many women's giving circles throughout the country prefer to partner with existing nonprofits. In this case, we partnered with Presentation High School which is a non-profit and has its own 501C3. Visit the "Join" page of this website for details on how you can join Lantern League. For those choosing an option that includes Presentation High School, the school will present a list of projects to the circle, and members will decide which have the highest appeal and are most worthy of funding.

The membership fee is $1,000 annually. Why was this amount chosen?

Philosophically, women’s giving circles are designed so that each member contributes the same amount. In this way, each woman is an equal partner for a noble cause, and no one person’s membership is more valuable than anyone else’s. Breaking it down, $1,000 annually represents about $3.00 per day — a figure that a great many women can afford. Payments may be made by cash (check) or credit card. We do have additional levels, $500 for Young Philanthropists for graduates of high school until age 30 and $100 for High School Students.

How will the circle's operations be funded?

During our first year, we were very fortunate to have a generous donor underwrite $10,000 for our operating costs. Since the majority of our costs are donated, and we operate leanly, we were able to use the original donation for many years. We have depleted the donation and are now accepting gifts to fund the operating costs. Any amount is appreciated.

Besides the annual financial commitment, what is the time commitment for the Lantern League?

While we do intend to form a strong network of women, the focus of this circle is to raise funds to support causes we believe in. There will be no “events” that take up inordinate time and energy, nor will there be gratuitous meetings. Meetings will be minimal (3 per year).

How will grants be determined?

The Lantern League will not accept unsolicited grants. Members are encouraged to research nonprofits working in the field of education for women and girls and nominate them for grants. Nominated organizations may submit grant applications for review by the steering committee. All grant applications that are submitted on time will be fully vetted by the grants subcommittee for compliance with our published criteria. All grant proposals that meet all our criteria will be recommended by the committee to the general membership for consideration. Those approved applicants will be asked to make a presentation at the general membership meeting of the Lantern League in March. Following the presentation, each member will exercise her vote, and the majority will decide what grants are to be funded. A follow-up completion report process to be submitted by the grantee insures accountability on the part of the organization(s).

How much is awarded to each grantee?

Grant funding will be based on donations in total received from Lantern League members; in the past, grants have ranged up to $10,000.

Are administrative expenses included in grant budgets?

Up to 10% of administrative expenses may be included in the requested budget.

How can I match a company gift to Lantern League?

Many companies offer matching-gift programs. If you are interested in a company matching gift to Lantern League through Presentation, please contact Director of Advancement Alice Dewhirst '78 Ursano at (408) 264-5110 ext. 2447 or for important details.