Sex Worker Giving Circle Fellowship


Between 2018 to 2023, 57 current and former sex workers have led the Sex Worker Giving Circle (SWGC) in granting out over $3 million to 48 sex worker-led groups building safety, self-determination, community power, and systems of mutual aid for sex workers across the U.S. 

The giving circle (a cross-class, multi-racial, and intergenerational giving circle housed at Third Wave Fund) is made up of a group of Fellows with current or past experience with sex work or the sex trade. Fellows annually mobilize resources, make all high-level funding decisions and grantmaking recommendations, bring their voices and leadership into philanthropy, while strengthening community power.

In our sixth year of the Sex Worker Giving Circle, the SWGC became fully former Fellow-staffed. This year’s 2024 Fellows are planning to distribute $585,000 to new and returning SWGC grantees from across the U.S.

Key Dates

Fellowship Orientation
March 5, 2024
Philanthropy 101
March 6, 2024
Sex Worker Movement Strategies
March 12, 2024
Grantmaking Training 1:
Application Review
March 13, 2024
Grantmaking Training 2:
Consensus-Based Decision Making
March 19, 2024
Grantmaking Training 3:
Conducting Interviews
March 20, 2024
Application Review
March 28 - April 8, 2024
Initial Decision Making
April 9 - 24, 2024
Applicant Interviews
May 6 - 16, 2024
Final Decision Making
June 4 - 12, 2024
June 18, 2024
June 25, 2024


  • Current or former sex workers: Participation in the SWGC Fellowship is limited to people with current or former experience with the sex trade and/or sex work. This means trading sex or sexual services for money, shelter, or anything else of value. This can also include escorting / full service sex work, sugaring, stripping / erotic dancing / go-go dancing, porn star / cam work, fetish work, dom/domme work, etc. We also welcome participation from people with experiences of coercion. Experience with sex worker organizing and activism is not required, but those interested must be committed to moving resources and supporting sex worker-led organizing work.
  • People with various class backgrounds: We welcome participation from people of all class backgrounds and income levels. You do not have to be wealthy or have savings to join. We center participation from working class and low-income people as an essential part of this giving circle.
  • People of all genders: We recognize that people of all genders participate in the sex trade and are sex workers. For that reason, we encourage trans and cis women, trans and cis men, and non-binary, genderqueer, and/or gender non-conforming people to participate.
  • People most impacted by oppression: We strongly encourage applications from Black people, Indigenous people, and/or people of color; young people, older people and elders; LGBQ+ people, trans and gender non-conforming people; immigrants, including people who are undocumented; people with HIV/AIDS; people with experience with substance use; people with experience with the criminal legal system; and disabled and/or chronically ill people.

Participation in the Fellowship is open to people living everywhere in the United States and its territories, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The giving circle requires a commitment of a minimum of 10-15 hours per month over four months (typically March – June). This includes attendance of at least 18 virtual meetings and trainings, each 2 hours in length; multiple applicant interviews; plus independent work in between meetings. 

Applicants receive a full list of exact dates and times of each virtual meeting and training at the time of applying to ensure full participation is possible.

All Fellows will receive a $5,000 stipend in recognition of the labor and time that goes into participating in the program. The stipend is divided into four monthly payments throughout the program. Fellows may also receive tech support and childcare reimbursements when requested.

Fellows accepted into the SWGC will receive a Statement of Expectations to read and sign, outlining the full context, scope of work, deliverables, and stipends during the duration of the Fellowship. Highlights of the SWGC Fellowship include:

  • Training: A key part of the giving circle is collective study. Fellows will learn together and from movement leaders about topics like mainstream philanthropy, grantmaking, and more as we prepare to raise money and distribute it to sex worker-led projects across the U.S.
  • Grantmaking: Fellows will receive training to support the grantmaking process, including application review and collective decision-making about who receives funding.
  • Philanthropic Advocacy: Fellows will have opportunities to engage with the broader philanthropic field and create guidelines and principles for funders with the goal of shifting how they engage with sex workers and sex trade issues.
  • Build Community: Fellows will have space to build relationships with other current and former sex workers, share stories and knowledge, break bread together, and learn and grow within community.

We’re super excited about raising money by us and for us, and Third Wave Fund is committed to raising outside funds to expand our impact. We work with donors and foundations to help secure the full amount we plan to award in new grants every year.

Ideal SWGC Fellows work well in groups and are committed to working collaboratively to achieve the SWGC’s goals, and have the time, energy, and commitment to attend all meetings, and participate in fundraising, community building, and collective learning activities. Additionally, we’re interested in hearing from potential Fellows who: 

  • Commit to observing and protecting confidentiality. 
  • Are willing and open to learn collaboratively from and with people who bring a wide range of backgrounds, skillsets, and experiences, including different orientations around sex work and trading sex.
  • Will center and follow the leadership of Fellows who are most impacted by oppression, violence, and criminalization.
  • Are willing to engage in constructive conflict and take personal responsibility to transform any oppressive behaviors if they occur.

We know that many of us aren’t public with our experiences with sex work and trading sex for lots of different reasons. The application form for the Fellowship uses secure encryption to protect applicant data, which will be kept confidential. Applicants do not have to use their real name, email address, or other identifying information in order to participate. We’ll also have ways for Fellows to fundraise from within their communities without claiming membership in the giving circle.

Third Wave Fund will also not publicize any names, images, or other identifying information of Fellows unless you explicitly give us permission to do so, and will take all steps necessary to protect Fellows’ identities and work with each Fellow to identify what works best in terms of confidentiality practices.

Please note: In order to receive the Fellowship stipend, Fellows will have to use their legal name on the paperwork. All legal names will be kept confidential to solely staff involved with cutting checks.

Fellows cannot be significantly involved in any group that is applying for funding from the SWGC. The Sex Worker Giving Circle is committed to resourcing the sex workers’ rights movement in ways that are transparent, equitable, and accountable. As a participatory and community-led program, we value the work that Fellows do outside of the giving circle to build sex worker power and community. We recognize that sex worker organizers are more likely to be impacted by this policy due to patterns of funding available to sex workers and the growing but limited spaces available for sex workers to build community with each other.

However, in order to remain a sustainable and credible organization and to maintain the trust of the sex worker movement, we find it necessary to do so currently. This policy will be reviewed regularly to determine its usefulness and to make sure that it is not detrimental to the involvement of diverse members of the sex workers’ rights movement in participating in the decision-making processes of the SWGC.

A person is considered significantly involved if any of the following conditions apply: 1) Is a paid staff member, 2) a board or steering committee member, 3) involved in key decision-making in the organization, 4) a volunteer that is significant in the organization (e.g. being involved in the day to day work of the organization or contributing more than 15 hours a week), 5) legally or fiscally responsible, 6) a paid consultant, 7) has been involved in any of the capacities mentioned above in the last 12 months.

A Fellow and the organization they are involved in can apply for funding from the SWGC immediately after said Fellow has completed the Fellowship cycle or withdrawn from the Fellowship before the cycle is complete.

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Want to join the groundswell of donors that make our grantmaking possible? Make a donation today so we can continue to fund the critical work of youth-led gender justice movements.