How we started
It was started on a dare. Co-founders Eileen Brady and Deborah Edward met for the first time at a social event in SE Portland in Spring, 2015. Deborah was relatively new to Portland, moving here in 2012 from Austin, TX. Eileen had been involved in Portland issues for a very long time. In a conversation in the kitchen (of course! where else do women gather?) Deborah said Portland doesn't compare to Austin from a philanthropy perspective. She said, for example, that a woman in Austin had pulled together a group of a hundred women to each give $1,000 and collectively select one organization to receive a $100,000 grant to jump start a big project. Eileen's Portland pride got the better of her and she said we can do this in Portland. They dared each other not to leave the party without committing to starting the project. A group of five or six women gathered around, heard the idea and all put their hands together and "shook on it." Together they started the ninety-nine girlfriends giving circle, a group of friends that collectively support our community. With lots of input from the Women's Collective Giving Grantmakers Network (there are 46 other groups doing this in the US!), the Washington Women's Foundation, the Women's Foundation of Oregon, their friend Jinx Faulkner and a kitchen cabinet of advisors that gave great advice to the three of them, they launched the project in 2016.