Creating positive change in African American communities through philanthropy

A Word From Our President

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Caryl Sheffield,


The Masala Giving Circle is delighted that you are visiting our website.  As our name indicates, “Masala” is that delicious blend of spices—the whole of which is richer and more amazing than the sum of its aromatic parts. This is the same for the Masala Giving Circle. We are a diverse group of African-American women with a common passion for giving back, helping others, and creating positive change in the African-American communities of Sarasota and Manatee counties. By pooling our resources together, we enable our members to achieve a much more significant impact with their charitable giving than they might achieve on their own.


Originally established in 2013 through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Masala Giving Circle has grown tremendously. We have reviewed and awarded grants to programs or services addressing needs in various areas including human trafficking, breast cancer prevention, grade-level reading, support for a community farmer's market, and a self-empowerment and mentoring programs for girls.  Each year we award individual grants up to $10,000 and over the past 7 years, we have awarded grants and gifts totaling over $67,000!


We hope that you will enjoy visiting our website and learning about how the Masala Giving Circle is promoting economic and personal empowerment our local African-American communities.  Since our inception, our giving philosophy has been to carry on the traditions of support passed down through our African ancestry and to do our part to make our communities stronger and more self-sustainable! We also believe as Maya Angelou has elegantly stated, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”  We are grateful to be able to share our blessings with others.

Latest News

remembering and honoring our founder, shelia baynes

Shelia Baynes, founder of the Masala Giving Circle, passed on June 23, 2020. Read more about her life on Tempo News.

Welcome new Masala members!

We are proud to welcome new Masala Members:

Christina Able, Mary Braxton-Joseph, Kimberly Cogdell-Grainger, Linda Crump, Mona Rankin,  Paula Smith Viltz

Our Grant Application Cycle Status

Our grant application period is now closed. Check back soon to celebrate our 2021 grant award recipients.