top of page
  • Jack H. Bender

Four Quarters Giving Circle

Like the young boy who plugs the leak in the dyke with his thumb, we know of situations where even one person can make a big difference in the lives of others. If that one person invites others to join the cause, all the better.

This week’s focus is on Four Quarters, a Holland philanthropy group that meets quarterly at Brew Merchant to write $100 personal checks to deserving non-profits. I interviewed Jerry Root, one of Four Quarter’s champions. He’s a former HPS teacher, now working in retirement on Hope College’s Campus Ministry Team.

Jerry shared that Four Quarters began in 2017 with the knowledge that Women Who Care and 100 Men Who Give a Damn (elsewhere) were doing similar work. A few friends began thinking about starting a 100 Men chapter, but discovered some locals were ready to launch Four Quarters.

Four Quarters meets quarterly to hear 10-minute presentations by three local non-profit representatives (often those with less name recognition). Following the presentations, one of those groups receives personal checks directly from FQ members. Jerry indicates that meeting absentees can still write checks. They forward $100 checks in advance of the meeting with the recipient line left blank.

The two non-profits, who are not picked on a given night, still win. FQ members learn about the organizations and some members write a check(s) for one or more of those non-profits.

FQ “Coaches” recruit new members and are responsible from four to a dozen on a “team.” Recruits are asked to commit to a year of meetings, so they can truly begin to grasp the scope and impact of FQ. Coaches also are in charge of scheduling meetings and inviting non-profits to participate. Jerry indicates that “the group tends to nominate smaller non-profits that often don’t receive grant funding.”

To learn more:


Two activities stand apart from the rhythm of quarterly meetings. One quarter each year is dedicated to supporting Holland Public Schools. Part of a community’s strength comes from strong public schools. The other activity is a community service day. The last service day found FQ members painting alongside Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity volunteers. FQ’s brochure states that the organization is “a giving circle with a community service focus.”

Four Quarters is excited about their successful start and are pushing to expand. New members are welcome. The next meeting of Four Quarters is September 12, 2019, at 7pm, Brew Merchant in Washington Square.

This is yet another story about the goodness of people that live next door. Some observations:

1. One person can make a difference

2. That impact is multiplied when that person is invitational

3. Companies (in this case, Brew Merchant) can donate their spaces for community meetings

4. With a little thought, we can be “strategic” in our giving

5. Philanthropy can support important local efforts that government does not

6. Knowledge of local efforts helps balance negative news cycles

7. The strength of a community is predicated on the good will of its members

8. What else?


The 1%’s increase in income from 1979 to 2016 = 226%

The bottom 20% of Americans in same time period = 85%


bottom of page