Spicy Women Come Full Circle

The Giving Coast


Masala means spicy and this group of women are certainly spicing things up in the community. Masala Giving Circle represents 42 members who all share a common thread in wanting to create positive change in African American communities through philanthropy. The group gets together on a regular basis and focuses on making a difference, combining their energies and dollars for a greater impact. Vice President Marilyn Thompson notes that the eclectic group of women try to have some fun and be social too! “We always make sure we are pulling together like-minded women that have the same values and take pleasure in getting to know the community we live in better, and connect with the needs that people have.”

“Part of the African American tradition is based around giving back and we have a whole legacy as African Americans of being very involved in community activities, so we see this group supportive of that,” says Thompson. “We also feel that many of us are blessed and feel fortunate for all that we have, so we like to find ways we can give to those who are not as fortunate by working with nonprofits. This is our way of giving back.”

Over the past four years, Masala Giving Circle has provided outreach for organizations such as More To Life—providing young girls with mental health services due to human trafficking. And through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, they aided awards to Turning Points—providing shelter and housing services for the homeless. They’ve also given grants to Newtown Nation to ensure the Newtown area has their own farmer’s market, as well as a sorority group in Manatee county for their Pearls of Excellence education mentor program. “Our mission remains to promote economic and personal empowerment through financial support for programs and initiatives that benefit African American/Black communities in Sarasota and Manatee counties,” says Thompson. After reviewing numerous grant applications this year, four grants of over $23,000 were distributed in May alone, to nonprofits who align with their strong mission, such as Visible Men Academy and Truly Valued.

“Masala Giving Circle is an opportunity to leverage our resources and if more people are together, we have more to give and more opportunity to share ideas and learn about the community as a whole.”

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is proud to partner with SRQ Media Group to highlight stories about community impact powered by philanthropy in our region, thanks to the support of donors and our local nonprofit partners. The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. 

Photo provided by The Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Masala Giving Circle

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