Global Philanthropists Circle

What Is the Global Philanthropists Circle?

“Philanthropy should always aim to transform society, rather than maintain the status quo. I've been inspired by the Global Philanthropists Circle, both the work of its individual member families and the value that comes from the sharing of experiences and opportunities within the group.”
-- David Rockefeller, Co-Founder of the Global Philanthropists Circle

The Global Philanthropists Circle (GPC) is a dynamic network of leading philanthropic families from across the world committed to using their time, influence and resources to fight global poverty and social injustice. Founded in 2001 by Peggy Dulany, Synergos' Chair, and her father, David Rockefeller, the GPC increases the impact of members' philanthropy and allows them to become more effective social investors by offering opportunities for learning and collaboration. The GPC consists of more than 85 families, including about 250 individual philanthropists from more than 25 countries.

The GPC is a unique opportunity for philanthropists seeking to make lasting change in the lives of poor and marginalized people. Unlike any other philanthropic forum, the GPC allows members to learn from their peers and forge new relationships that can dramatically move their work forward.

What We Offer Our Members


Above: A GPC Member visits women in Mumbai during a learning journey to India

Below: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and David Rockefeller talk with GPC Members at University for a Night

Impact

The Global Philanthropists Circle is designed to help its members develop more strategic, effective, and sustainable practices that result in more powerful impacts for their philanthropic work. Synergos takes a broad view of how philanthropists can promote social progress, encouraging members to tap their skills, knowledge, experience, and influence, and not just their financial resources.

Members develop a deeper understanding of issues related to poverty and inequity through peer learning and access to issue experts, including the Synergos Senior Fellows Network of global civil society leaders. Activities are designed to help identify and connect members to a better understanding of their work in the world and personal sense of purpose, which can help energize and focus their philanthropy.

Program Offerings

Throughout the year, Synergos holds a variety of events and activities to bring members together, including Learning Visits to developing countries, working dinners and philanthropy workshops, an Annual Meeting in New York City and our yearly week-long retreats. Members are also invited guests to University for a Night, an annual Synergos event in New York City, where they interact with leaders of philanthropy, business, government and civil society from all over the world.

GPC staff can help members with peer partnerships; regional and issue working groups; guided access to Synergos' contacts with foundations and funders, business and multi-lateral organizations; and individual meetings with key leaders in civil society, government and the private sector.

The GPC also hosts a number of special affinity groups. One of them, the Next Generation Group, helps younger family members engage with their peers to develop as emerging global philanthropists. Other groups focus on regions, such as Africa and the Middle East, or substantive issues such as climate change and poverty.


Participants during a GPC learning journey to the Middle East reflect on their experiences

Customized Services

We provide a personal approach to member families, offering diverse activities and services tailored to their specific needs. The GPC provides each member family with a dedicated professional who can help develop a plan around members' goals and offer ongoing strategic advice. If desired, Synergos can also provide more intensive work on a fee-for-service basis.

Global Audience

Synergos is also able to promote members' work. We help facilitate participation in key global events where philanthropists and social investors gather. The GPC also profiles its members in Global Giving Matters, Synergos' joint publication with the World Economic Forum, distributed to several thousand thought leaders globally. In addition, Synergos is frequently contacted by important media outlets seeking out examples of innovative work.

Any promotion of members' work is done at their discretion. To honor the privacy of our members, the network is designated as a "safe space" where fundraising is prohibited, and members' names are not distributed to the media or public without permission.

photo of GPC 2008 retreat
Members gather in Tarrytown, New York to learn from each other's work and perspectives.

For More Information

Watch video comments from Members about the value of the Circle to them and their work.

To discuss becoming a member of the Global Philanthropists Circle, please contact Shannon St. John, Director, Networks, at sstjohn@synergos.org or + 1 646-963-2118. A member of the GPC team will discuss the terms and benefits in more detail, so that Synergos and your family can determine whether participation in the Circle is appropriate for you.