Joy B. Webb: The Collective Giving Evangelist

This Q&A is part of a series highlighting the 2022 Black Women Give List honorees.

Joy B. Webb is program director at The Community Investment Network, founder of The Circle of Joy, and all-around collective giving evangelist. Passion and heart are at the core of her philanthropic work, which centers around bringing communities together to solve their problems collectively.  

Webb was recently featured in the 2022 Black Women Give List, an initiative of the Women’s Philanthropy InstituteBlack Philanthropy Month and The Women Invested to Save the Earth (WISE) Fund. Building on research that demonstrates the unique perspectives women across race and ethnicity bring to philanthropy and recognizing women as leaders for racial justice issues, the list highlights the contributions Black women donors have made around the world.

Giving Compass recently talked with Webb. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Briefly, can you describe some of your philanthropic work that you are most excited about?

What I’m most excited about is sharing with Black and Brown people that they are philanthropists. Philanthropy is the love of humankind. And therefore, anybody who has a love for humankind can be a philanthropist. [Black and Brown people] can look at philanthropy differently by seeing themselves in it.

I’ve been working in this field for about 15 years, directly and indirectly. Now I talk about it all the time. I get excited about it. I am the collective giving evangelist because I can talk about collective giving all day long. I speak authentically and I speak passionately about it because it is something that is really at my heart. 

How have your personal experiences as a Black woman informed your approach to philanthropy?

My lived experience and my community’s lived experience have been a great influence. Sharing and knowing and seeing the power of the collective has been great for me. Sharing with others that by using the power of the collective we can change the world. Start where you are and make it happen. 

Can you describe how your community-driven approach to philanthropy leads to real, sustainable change for Black and Brown communities?

I have a giving circle in Atlanta, Ga., called The Circle of Joy. I work with several giving circles and collective giving models to help inform and engage people about their power and their resources and think strategically and intentionally to be the change that they want to see. My approach is “Community knows what Community needs”, so by listening to the community all the information is there, and then we can partner together and make a positive impact.  I intentionally do not say granting. I say partnering, because at the end of the day we know that it is hard work and it’s heart work that makes the world a better place. So when we are able to partner together and use our resources intentionally, and collectively, we can be clear in being the change that we want to see. 

What are you most hopeful about?

I am hopeful about people understanding that they are philanthropists. I’m hopeful about the next generation. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of young people changing the narrative and being disruptors. Especially in this time, understanding that you don’t have to go with the norm. You can do things a little differently. [Young people] have done a very good job of pushing the envelope. I’m hopeful that in disrupting we also can be responsible and responsive philanthropists. 

What advice would you give other philanthropists?

Start where you are and meet people where they are. Nobody is going to come and save us. We can save ourselves. I would say that if you have a passion, go ahead and get with it. I don’t want you to think that you have to wait until you’re a millionaire to be a philanthropist. You can be a philanthropist today by using your time, talent, and treasure, which will always lead to a testimony.