At the start of last year, Inside Philanthropy featured an article about a tech couple Michael and Xochi Birch and the Bay Area social club they founded in 2013 called “The Battery.”
By Ade Adeniji, Inside Philanthropy
Through the club’s philanthropic arm, Battery Powered, members nominate giving themes and contribute to local, national and international nonprofits.
One of the central goals of Battery Powered is to break down barriers to giving and educate budding philanthropists on a range of issue areas in the hopes that they might find something to explore more deeply. Part of the story here is that the Birches, as young philanthropists themselves, struggled to find organizations that really resonated with them – that is, until they discovered charity:water, which they’ve been supporting at a high level for about a decade.
Battery Powered, meanwhile, after giving away $11 million in just three years, recently hit the $15 million mark near its four-year anniversary. I caught up with Michael Birch and Battery Powered Executive Director Colleen Gregerson about this significant milestone and what’s new with the organization since last year. In the process, I learned more about an unconventional giving model that seems to be gaining traction.
“We’re really moving and grooving now,” Gregerson said of Battery Powered when I spoke to her. For those who did not read our earlier piece on the organization, Battery Powered educates members about philanthropic issues and then collectively grants funds to organizations within a selected giving theme. Themes have included prison reform, gun safety and childhood nutrition. And membership includes investors, tech entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and artists, ranging in age from their 20s to their seventies.