How Does Membership Work?

Many Hands is a giving circle made up of members who come together each year to support nonprofits serving and empowering Washington, DC area women, children, and families in socioeconomic need.

Each member makes a financial contribution that is pooled with other gifts to create the grant fund for that cycle; each member is also invited to vote in May on the allocation of the grant fund among the four grantees.

For those who’d like to be more involved, we have many volunteer opportunities but no volunteer requirement. Members decide how active they want to be. Typically, more than half of members choose to participate primarily through their financial contribution and vote. Others opt to be active in grantmaking or operations and participate in Many Hands’ education programs. (See What Can I Do as a Member below for details.)

Why Should I Become a Member?

As a Many Hands member, you will:

  • Multiply the impact of your giving by joining hundreds of other donors to make large-scale grants;
  • Discover and support highly effective, community-based nonprofits working to address local needs;
  • Develop insight into challenges facing local communities in the areas of economic empowerment, education, health, and housing;
  • Deepen your understanding of philanthropy and become more intentional about your giving;
  • Work with a diverse group of smart, passionate donors who are committed to making a difference in the lives of Washington, DC area women, children, and families in socioeconomic need.

How Do I Become a Member?

Welcome! There is no membership application; the only step is to make your membership gift. Once we receive your gift, if you are a new member, a member of the Board or Membership Committee will reach out to welcome you to Many Hands and provide you with more information about opportunities to participate.

We offer a range of giving levels to meet members’ needs and goals. All members receive the same benefits and opportunities, regardless of giving level.

Discover Collective Giving | $300
Members under 35 are invited to be part of the future of collective giving at Many Hands with an annual gift of $300 to the grant fund.

Support Collective Giving | $1,000
All members are invited to support collective giving at Many Hands with an annual gift of $1,000 to the grant fund.

Sustain Collective Giving | $1,100+
All members are invited to sustain collective giving at Many Hands with an annual gift of $1,100 or more. The first $1,000 of your gift will go to the grant fund. The next $500 will help cover Many Hands’ operating expenses. Amounts in excess of $1,500 will be applied to the grant fund.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many Hands is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations to Many Hands are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

The minimum donation to become a member is $1,000 for individuals 35 and older and $300 for donors under 35. If cost is a barrier to membership, we invite you to apply for a 50% membership gift waiver through Many Hands Many Voices.

No. Each member can cast one vote at the Annual Meeting, but we greatly appreciate all donations in excess of $1,000, which help fund Many Hands’ operating expenses.

To discuss a monthly payment plan, please email Frazier Schulman at treasurer@manyhandsdc.org.

Yes. If you would like to use an employer match to cover part of your membership gift, please contact us at treasurer@manyhandsdc.org. We also welcome employer matches for full membership gifts!

No. All members are invited to serve on our committees and to vote on grants, but no one is required to do so.

No. All members are eligible to vote on grants.

Yes. All voting takes place electronically.

Many Hands Many Voices

At Many Hands, we believe that valuing and empowering a wide range of voices is critical to effective grantmaking. Therefore, we’ve launched a pilot program to waive 50% of the minimum membership gift (currently $1,000, or $300 for members under 35), with the goal of broadening the range of experience, expertise, and perspectives represented among our members. Waivers are available to individuals who:

  • Reside in the Many Hands service area (District of Columbia; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; Arlington County, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Alexandria City, VA; Fairfax City, VA; Falls Church City, VA);
  • Plan to participate actively in Many Hands;
  • Commit to contribute 50% of the membership gift.

New and returning members are eligible for the waiver. The Board maintains the identity of waiver recipients in confidence. If you have any questions, please email Jane Paul and Lori Sostowski at membership@manyhandsdc.org.

What Can I Do as a Member?

All members are invited to vote on the final allocation of the grant fund and to attend Many Hands events, including education programs and the Annual Meeting, where the four grantees chosen by the Focus Area Committees make presentations on their work before members vote. In addition, members are welcome to participate in grantmaking, operations, and governance.

Grantmaking is headed by Board Vice President Charis Keitelman. Grantmaking responsibilities include creating and publicizing the application, providing support to applicants, conducting eligibility review, setting up Focus Area Committees, serving on or chairing a Focus Area Committee (reviewing applications, conducting site visits, selecting a grantee), carrying out financial review of Focus Area Committee finalists, conducting the Annual Meeting, executing grant agreements, and presenting grant awards.

Depending on their interests and experience, members typically start out by serving on a Focus Area Committee or participating in financial review and may then move on to participate in eligibility review or other areas of grantmaking.

Operations are headed by Board President Kathryn Zecca. Operations include member recruiting and retention, event planning, communications, finance, governance, and strategic planning. All members are welcome to support the first three functions by serving on the Membership Committee or Communications team; members with relevant skills and experience may be asked to serve on the Finance or Governance Committee.

Governance is the collective responsibility of Many Hands’ 15-member Board of Directors. Board members are appointed for three-year terms and may serve two consecutive terms. For more information about Board member responsibilities and qualifications, click here.

How Long Will My Membership Last?

Membership is valid for a single grant cycle (see below). It begins when we receive your gift and ends the day after the following Annual Meeting, which takes place in mid-May. We welcome members to join Many Hands throughout the year. However, in order to serve on a Focus Area Committee and review grant applications (January-April), you must make your gift between May and December 31 of the previous year. (Click here to read more about our Focus Area Committees; click here for an overview of our grant process.)

May The grant cycle begins on the day following the Annual Meeting that marks the end of the previous cycle; any donations made from this date onward go toward the grants that will be made the following May.
October The member kickoff featuring past Many Hands grantees welcomes returning and prospective members.
November The fall education event is typically held on a weekday evening.
December Members who wish to serve on a Focus Area Committee must make their gift by 12/31. However, we gratefully accept donations toward this grant cycle until the Annual Meeting in May.
January In early January, members are invited to sign up for a Focus Area Committee.
January-April Focus Area Committees review applications, conduct site visits, and select grantees.
April The spring education event is typically held on a weekday evening.
May We announce the four grantees in early May. Members receive the four organizations’ proposals in advance of the Annual Meeting, which is held in mid-May and includes presentations from the grantees. Following the meeting members vote to select the recipient of the $100,000 Impact Grant.

Stay Informed

Our monthly newsletter, which appears September through May, provides updates on our work and information about opportunities to get involved. Click here to sign up. We also encourage members and friends to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

I joined Many Hands after having the opportunity to hear speakers from three organizations that had received Many Hands grants–Greater DC Diaper Bank, Horton’s Kids, and Reach Inc.–describe the direct and positive impact Many Hands had on the communities they served. After that incredible introduction, it was a no-brainer to join.

Rachel Li Wai Suen, Many Hands member since 2019

Many Hands has been a perfect fit for me. As a feminist and activist, I was looking for a way to make a difference in my community. Through Many Hands, I not only contribute financially but also, equally important, have the opportunity to evaluate firsthand the many local organizations that are transforming the lives of women and children. And finally, I have met amazing Many Hands women who are now my friends.

Joanne Howes, Many Hands member since 2015

Being part of a larger collective movement of women with an aim to make change in the lives of women, children, and families is inspiring. The chosen organizations have the potential to be life-altering for so many. Knowing the work we do makes a difference motivates me to want to do more. I’m so very proud to be a member!

Mika Bellamy, Many Hands member since 2018

Many Hands serves many purposes. Most important, of course, is continuing to raise funds to assist women and children in need in our community, but it also offers a unique opportunity for donors to learn about their community, philanthropy, and grant making while developing meaningful relationships with like-minded women.

Ana Collins, Many Hands Founding Board Member

I love the amplification impact of a $1,000 donation being multiplied many times over.  I am aware of how difficult it is for small organizations to raise money and know how impactful a $100,000 or $50,000 grant can be for them. I also love the fact that the funds are contributed by successful women!

Theresa Pattara, Many Hands member since 2020

I’ve been inspired and impressed by the wide range of dedicated, high-performing nonprofits serving our area. I now have a much better understanding of the entire local ecosystem supporting women, children, and families. This makes me a more discerning individual donor, a better board member, and a better citizen.

Jan Piercy, Many Hands member since 2019
Member headshot

I believe strongly in the exponential power of collective giving, especially female-centric philanthropy, and Many Hands is the perfect way to become part of this movement. My favorite part of Many Hands is the opportunity to learn about the hundreds of nonprofits in the metro DC area. I am inspired every day because of them.

Marianne MacDonald, Many Hands Founding Member
Member headshot

In many cases, the fallout of a crisis is not gender-neutral. Seeing the economic toll of COVID-19 on women, in particular, prompted me to take action. I joined Many Hands so I can belong to a community of like-minded individuals working together to have large-scale impacts in helping to support women and families.

Suzanna Kang, Many Hands member since 2020

Supporting women to achieve their economic goals is essential to have thriving communities and families. Many Hands‘ commitment to supporting nonprofits engaged in making a difference in the lives of women and fostering economic agency speaks to my personal commitment to have an impact and acknowledge the dignity of all people.

Ritta McLaughlin, Many Hands member since 2020

Many Hands gives a boost to dynamic grassroots organizations, while drawing together groups of women from diverse walks of life across the DC metro area. I joined Many Hands to support this exciting “alliance” of women.

Lydia Micheaux Marshall, Many Hands member since 2013

At Many Hands, we trust the organizations to whom we give our funds to do the right things and to have impact in a way that truly meets the needs of the organization, the community, and the individuals in the community that the organization serves.

Gerri Walsh, Many Hands member since 2019
There is great power in the ability of Many Hands‘ membership to combine forces and resources to help effect change. Many small but important nonprofit organizations exist in this area, and it has been a profound learning experience for me to begin to understand some of the challenges they face.
Rita Shapiro, Many Hands member since 2020
Member headshot

I am so happy that I found Many Hands and jumped on the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful organization. Joining has given me the opportunity to become intentional with my philanthropic donations, meet a diverse group of inspiring women leaders, gain exposure to numerous philanthropies in the area, and witness the complexities of a grantmaking life cycle.

Melissa Hancock O'Neil, Many Hands member since 2020