Membership FAQs


When does the Circle meet?
Business meetings are held quarterly and typically include a guest speaker. The Grants Sub-Circle holds an orientation in September and several review sessions in October. A Grantee Celebration to honor our previous year’s Nonprofit Partners is held each spring. Empty Bowls, our community fundraiser for hunger relief, is held the first Friday after Easter. Service programs and the Book Circle meet regularly throughout the year.

May I attend a meeting as a guest?
Absolutely! Guests are welcome at quarterly meetings and social events.

Do I have to live in Northern VA to be a member?
No, but all of our grants are awarded to nonprofits that serve people in Northern VA.

Why is the minimum contribution for voting $415?
We want the Circle to be affordable for all. Many members contribute more because they believe we use every dollar effectively.

If I contribute more, can I qualify for another vote?
No. Every Voting Member has one vote.

What is the difference between a Voting Member and a Service Member?
A Voting Member contributes a minimum of $415 annually to the grant fund and is eligible to vote on grants and serve on the Guiding Circle. Service Members contribute less than $415 (or not at all) but may volunteer with our service programs and attend meetings and events. Voting Members may also be Service Members.

What can I expect when I join the Giving Circle of HOPE?
When you become a member, you will receive an email confirmation of your application and a welcome letter. You will also begin receiving periodic email announcements and Evites to meetings and events. When you attend a GCH event, expect to meet a group of warm and passionate people! You should also plan to attend the next New Member Orientation.

Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes. It is fully tax-deductible.

When is my contribution due?
Contributions must be received by November 1 to qualify for that year.

Is the only option an annual donation?
No, options exist for automatic monthly or quarterly donations as well. Giving monthly or quarterly allows you to contribute throughout the year. It also gives us a better sense of the number of grants we will be able to support earlier in the grant review process.

May I contribute stock as part or all of my contribution?
Yes. Contact our treasurer for more information.

May I be a member if I am on the board or an Executive Director of a nonprofit?
Yes. We appreciate the experience and insight that members bring from the nonprofit community.

What time commitment is required?
No time commitment is required but we encourage members to get involved. Some members simply write a check and vote on grants once a year; others regularly serve on committees or volunteer with service programs.

May I volunteer for more than one service program?
Of course; our service programs meet on different days. Choose which ones touch your heart.

May I suggest a new service program?
Yes! Most of our programs have launched from a member having “a good idea!” With the Guiding Circle’s approval, a program will receive the full support of the Circle.

Why is the Giving Circle of HOPE affiliated with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia?
As a component fund of the CFNV, we automatically have tax-exempt status, insurance, and a partner with a similar mission. The CFNV’s resources allow us to concentrate on giving grants, providing service, and building community and not worry about IRS reporting and administrative details. The CFNV also acts as our bank and our investment manager.