Impact 100 is a grantmaking organization that provides its women members multiple levels of engagement to activate change in the Greater Cincinnati region. Founded in Cincinnati in 2001 on the framework of collective giving, Impact 100 has awarded more than $6 million to local nonprofits.
This fall, as Impact 100 embarks on the organization’s 2023 grant cycle, its volunteer leadership team is hosting a series of social events to help prospective members understand how collective giving works and hear directly from grant recipients about how their organizations have used their grant dollars. Impact 100 is committed to equitable funding practices and educating its members about adopting an equity lens on grantmaking.
“Spread the Word” events are open to women over the age of 18.
- Nov. 10, 8-9:30 a.m. Life Learning Center, Covington
- Nov. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Mercantile Library, downtown
- Nov. 15, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Loveland, location TBA
- Nov. 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Mt. Lookout, private home
All Impact 100-member contributions go directly into grants to regional nonprofits. Through their gifts of $500 or $1,000, members have a voice in grantmaking priorities and can choose how deeply they want to engage in the grant selection process. In 2022, four organizations were awarded $101,000 each: Price Hill Will, City Gospel Mission, Life Learning Center and Found Village.
Price Hill Will’s application earlier this year made the case for supporting its Homesteading Program, which will use grant funds to assist in the purchase and renovation of blighted properties, and help low-moderate income families who do not quality for conventional financing attain homeownership.
In collective giving fundraising models, individuals gather together, discuss their values and community issues, then pool their dollars and decide where to direct the funds. This idea that inspired the creation of Impact 100 is “as innovative now as it was in 2001 – harnessing the power of many women united to support community initiatives they believe have great merit,” according to Kate Burroughs, vice president and marketing/PR chair.
Burroughs called Impact 100’s model “modernized, women-powered philanthropy that is intentionally inclusive and serves as an excellent platform for members to get to know our community intimately through the work of incredible organizations. This organization gives everyone an opportunity to collaborate and engage with a dedicated and diverse group of women philanthropists of all ages who are impassioned to give back to their community.”
Nancy Keyser, vice president and membership chair, said Impact 100 is making a big push for women to join by Dec. 31 so new members can be eligible to vote for the 2023 grant cycle. The “Spread the Word” campaign is designed to make new friends and amplify “how accessible membership is,” Keyser said. “You don’t have to consider yourself an activist to join; you don’t need to have an incredibly high net worth; you don’t have to be referred; and you don’t have to commit to volunteer hours to be a member in good standing.” Members can choose to make their donations in monthly installments. Scholarships are available to young professionals.
While members fund the grants to nonprofits, sponsors fund operational expenses and underwrite high-value membership experiences and events, including Impact 100’s Annual Awards celebration that takes place each September.
“Heart and soul of the community”
Members say that, through Impact 100, they have acquired a deeper understanding of the Cincinnati region’s unique needs and found a community of like-minded women.
“What I love about being an Impact 100 member has been the wide variety of women I have met in this organization,” said Angel Beets. “I have met so many people who I probably wouldn’t have met personally, professionally, in my day-to-day living here in the city.”
Leslie Nienhaus is new to Impact 100. “I have been searching for years for some way to get involved in the community. With children and with starting my career, it’s been a huge challenge for me – add the pandemic on top of that and it basically stalled. I learned about Impact 100 and thought it was the perfect opportunity to dive in with other women and really engage in the community.”
Taisha Rojas-Parker, vice president and DEI chair, had been a recipient of a 2019 Impact 100 grant. She was program director of Cincinnati Works’ Workforce Connection, a social enterprise program providing coaching services. Her positive connections with Impact 100 members inspired her to join. “I want my impact to exceed what I, as one person, am capable of doing, and witness what impact I can make in being part of a collective,” Rojas-Parker said. “Nonprofits are the heart and soul of our community, and we’re building community with them.”
Rose Palmieri, vice president and grant review coordinator, said the first step for grant applicants is submitting a letter of intent using Impact 100’s online submission system. Letters of intent for the 2023 grant cycle are due Dec. 15. Impact 100 provides letter-of-intent training, and on Nov. 17 will hold a virtual nonprofit panel discussion so prospective 2023 grant applicants can get tips from successful grant recipients about the application process.