Our History

In 2012, the concept of “women’s collective giving” was brand new to The Philanthropy Connection co-founder Marla Felcher. But one day she attended an Impact100 Sonoma meeting in Berkeley, California. By the end of the meeting, she had decided she would create a similar organization in Boston.

That evening, she called friends Dharma Cortés and Suzanne Carter, who immediately said yes. They spent the spring of 2012 planning what would become The Philanthropy Connection. The founders were focused on inspiring women to understand and practice philanthropy, providing grants in Massachusetts to fulfill the unmet needs of community members, and engaging the next generation of women philanthropists.

TPC ended its first year, 2013, with 131 members and by awarding five $26,000 grants to our first set of grantees: Crossroads for Kids, Family Nurturing Center, Reach Beyond Domestic Violence, Respond, Inc., and Silver Lining Mentoring.

Our founding members set TPC on course to always push the envelope. As we have evolved, TPC has remained focused on expanding women’s understanding of and access to philanthropy and making a meaningful impact on Greater Boston’s nonprofits.


Founded to inspire women philanthropists and support Boston’s nonprofits and awarded $130,000 to our first five grantees
Established Young Professionals (YP) Program
Established the first Young Professionals program of any collective women’s organization in the United States. We also created a fellows program, redefining “philanthropist” as anyone who donates their time, talents, and/or treasures to improve the lives of others.
Highlighted in the Boston Globe for our work empowering women to serve on nonprofit boards
Launched Philanthropy Dialogue Series
Launched the Philanthropy Dialogue series, small group discussions featuring our Grantees and the Grantee Liaison program which matches TPC members with grantees.
YP Conference
Hosted a sold out Young Philanthropist conference, which helped us grow our Young Philanthropist membership to over 20% of our organization
Half-Price YP Memberships
To further encourage philanthropy in young people, offered half-price membership for women aged 18-35
21-Day Racial Equity Challenge
The Board completed the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge which was later rolled out to the broader membership
Trust-Based Philanthropy
Integrated trust-based philanthropy into our grants processes, leading us to solely distribute general operating support to grantees
Membership Tiers
Introduced a tiered membership model wherein members choose to make the membership investment ($2,500, $1,200, $600, or $300) that works for them, with all members having an equal voice within the organization
Catalyst Grant
Awarded our first “Catalyst Grant” to RIA, Inc. in honor of our 10th grant cycle
Expanded our focus to include advocacy, supporting the efforts of our grantees to make systemic change