Impact 100 names finalists for 2020 grants

Impact 100 will award $400,000 this year to four area nonprofits. 

Four of the following eight grant finalists will receive a $100,000 grant this September 10th during the first-ever virtual Impact 100 Annual Awards Celebration. All eight finalists will present their proposals to the Impact 100 membership, and, after member votes are counted, four will each receive a $100,000 grant to implement their projects.

2020 Grant Finalists:

  • Ohio River Foundation
  • Elementz
  • Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation
  • Changing Gears
  • New Life Furniture Bank
  • MORTAR Cincinnati
  • Women Helping Women
  • Althea Augustine Technical Learning Center

“While 2020 has shaped up to be a year of physical distance in the world, for Impact 100 it has been a year of getting closer. We are getting closer to our work than ever before,” said Impact 100 President Sarah Grace Mohr.  “While we’re all weathering the same storm, we are certainly not in the same boat. An unfortunate reality we are now forced to face is the disparity in the health, wealth and safety in our community. The most vulnerable of us are being affected in ways many of us cannot fathom. This year’s grant finalists are each helping to transform our community in a lasting and impactful way.”

Sarah Grace Mohr

Candidates submit applications for funding in one of five key IMPACT areas: culture, education, environment, preservation and recreation, family. and health and wellness.

More about finalists and their projects:

Ohio River FoundationMussels in the Classroom and River Explorer: A Huge Leap in STEM Enrichment

Ohio River Foundation currently engages more than 4,000 children per year by visiting a stream, river, or creek to study ecology and water quality hands-on using field-grade scientific equipment. 

The Ohio River watershed is a source of drinking water, place of recreation and commerce, and provides wildlife habitat. The health of the river and its tributaries affects the quality of life of everyone in the watershed.  This particular project will exclusively expand ORF’s hands-on, low-cost, high-impact environment and education programs to area schools, increasing ORF’s reach by more than 60 percent. 

ElementzArts Program Expansion to the Price Hill Neighborhood

Elementz will utilize this grant award to open a cultural arts center in Price Hill, focused on art from Hip Hop Culture. They have 18 years of experience with this work and have come to understand that youth who most need a creative and safe outlet for expression connect most with familiar art forms like Hip Hop Culture.

Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation, Inc.Food Pantry Expansion

This Community College has identified food insecurity as a major issue for its population: the majority of whom work while in school but do not make enough to support themselves (and sometimes their children) and take classes. Just over half of their students meet the poverty threshold, with 33 percent making less than $10,000 annually. By expanding the Pantry locations and healthy food access, student retention and overall student health can improve. 

Changing GearsBridge Program

The Bridge Program began in 2019 and was created to eliminate a major transportation dilemma for the working poor. How do you get to a job without a car? How do you get a car without a job? The Bridge Program is necessary to provide reliable transportation for people who have just completed industry training and are starting new jobs in order to work their way out of poverty. The goal is to serve 200 clients over the next three years with a fleet of 50 vehicles. The pilot test for the program began in July of last year and is on track for a 90 percent completion rate, meaning that nearly all clients will end their lease by purchasing a personal vehicle. With the Impact 100 funds, an additional 20 vehicles will be added.

New Life Furniture Bank, Inc.Turning Empty Houses into Livable Homes 

New Life supports those moving from homelessness into permanent or supportive housing by providing whole house furniture to 80 Greater Cincinnati zip codes, 81 percent reporting that they earn less than $12,000 per year. Staff members collect donations of gently used, basic household furniture from local residents, store the items briefly in the warehouse, and deliver and set up as many as 18 items in each empty house. This relieves families who are emerging from homelessness, combating domestic abuse, or relocating from the financial and physical burdens of furnishing an otherwise empty apartment. 

MORTAR CincinnatiMORTAR 3.0

MORTAR is working with some of our region’s hardest to reach populations –those who are challenged based on race, gender, background, or socioeconomic status–and has helped lead the transformation of our region to be one of the most vibrant for minority entrepreneurs. By identifying participants who are below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, MORTAR will expand current programming to build economic self-sufficiency in their participants by 1) decreasing debt to income ratio, 2) increasing credit scores, 3) incrementally increasing monthly savings, and 4) building and growing their entrepreneurial efforts.

Women Helping WomenDVERT: An Enhanced Police/Advocate Response to Domestic Violence Incidents 

Women Helping Women has been working on the front lines of preventing gender based violence since 1973.  In addition, they work to empower all survivors and are the only comprehensive, non-shelter, community-based service provider for gender-based violence in Hamilton and Butler Counties. This finalist partners with City Police Departments on Domestic Violence calls to support victims of domestic abuse with plans, resources, and support. 

Althea Augustine Technical Learning Center, Inc.Digital Equity & Technology Infusion

This project will create a fully functional 21st-century technology and learning center in the village of Lincoln Heights to close gaps and disparities in educational resources and opportunities for residents of all ages. Lincoln Heights is a historically African American community and nearly 42 percent of its residents live in poverty. Lincoln Heights struggles to overcome the effects of the well-documented segregation and racial discrimination that spawned the Village, when valuable industrial property on which black residents lived was denied to the village of Lincoln Heights and given to adjacent white communities. Without a strong tax base, this disenfranchised community has historically been under-served and economically oppressed, and its population is still predominantly black.

About Impact 100:
The name, Impact 100, comes from the initial goal of 100 women contributing $1,000 to award a $100,000 grant to a community organization. The Cincinnati chapter alone has awarded more than $5.12 million in grant money locally. Impact 100 has grown into a movement with chapters in more than 50 U.S. cities and two foreign countries. Together, the organizations have awarded more than $55 million in grants. 


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