Second Blooming (November, 2012)
November 1, 2012Multiply Your Impact by 100
Have you ever wished you had enough money to create a foundation so you could fund worthy community projects you hear about? Me, too! I’m still glowing from being able to give away $728,000 in grants on October, 14, 2012, to seven deserving non-profits. My feelings of pride, satisfaction, joy, and gratitude will last me all year. “Lucky you. Wish I had that kind of money!” you may be thinking.
You do, just not by yourself. In truth, the seven grants of $104,000 each were funded by me and 727 of my “closest friends.” How? By joining forces in our local Impact 100 organization. Every woman gave $1000, 100% of which goes to the grants. There is no staff; expenses are covered by interest on the money and in-kind donations, while management is provided by passionate, capable volunteers amongst the members.
Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 isn’t the only Impact organization in the country, but it is the largest. The honor of creating the first one apparently belongs to Cincinnati, which began in 2001. Others now include: Greater Indianapolis, IN; Indian River, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Sonoma, CA; Vero Beach, FL; Baldwin, AL; Richmond, VA; St. Louis, MO; Palm Beach County, FL; and, Covington and Owensboro, KY. (If I missed yours, I’m sorry; I got the information online.)
What’s the motivation of these organizations? Philadelphia wants to “reach underserved populations, raise the profile of deserving but lesser-known organizations, and highlight unmet needs in the region.” Richmond calls it “transformative giving,” aiming to fund projects that “foster change and have a long-term impact.” Indian River’s goal is to “fund significant projects to improve the community well-being [through] high-impact grants that can be sustained.” That idea of improving the community is at the heart of every Impact 100.
Some women initially worried that Impact would diminish or divert funds from other causes or organizations. Sonoma found, however, that these “giving circles” caused women to give more broadly, serving as a “gateway for people to become first-time donors.
The mission statements of the various Impacts are similar; ours is:
To know and serve the community
To collectively fund significant grants to charitable initiatives
To set an example of effective philanthropy
Interest in starting an Impact 100 in the Pensacola Bay area began when someone read a magazine article, perhaps about Cincinnati’s success. Several women (I wasn’t one of them) got busy researching the steps to take to form one. Initially, they hoped to attract 100 women to this new venture, but 233 signed up and they were able to award two grants of $116,500 to Habitat for Humanity and Interfaith Ministries that very first year, 2004. Other than a slight dip in 2007 (that darn recession), we’ve continued to grow in membership and the number of grants awarded. Since its inception in 2004, Pensacola Bay Impact 100 has awarded thirty-nine grants to thirty-four non-profit agencies, totaling more than $4.3 million dollars. Just imagine what we’ve been able to do!
I’m thrilled with the results of our efforts, such as:
32,000 units of blood collected on the new and reliable bloodmobile, impacting 128,000 lives over four years;
20,000 needy residents in Santa Rosa County received free medical care, medications, and dental services;
$250,000 of musical instruments provided to seventeen middle schools throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, with an average lifespan of twenty years (can’t you hear the beautiful music those kids are making?);
2,500 square foot facility to provide youth education to prevent abuse, homelessness and truancy.
And I’m certain every woman in every Impact 100 feels that same sense of accomplishment in her community with the completion of projects that most likely would never have been feasible otherwise.
As our president, Marny Needle, said, “We have grown in part because our community can see the projects that we have funded. Our community can see the people impacted by our grants. Our community can feel the difference we have made through our effective model of philanthropy. We will continue to grow because [women] understand the positive power of collective giving.”
As a bonus, even “losing” has its benefits, with “both the winners and runners up attracting additional volunteers and donations to help their projects,” observed Marny. Also, many committee members who make site visits find themselves donating their time and resources when a cause touches their heart.
Some of the other side-benefits for the non-profits observed over the years include:
Significantly improved presentations and speakers;
Better skills in grant writing;
Clearly defined projects;
More volunteer help with projects;
Attract more funding;
Business practices improve.
Do I still wish I could win the lottery and establish a foundation? You bet! But the odds are against me, so I’ll choose to invest my $1000 annually where I know it will be multiplied by the power of collective giving: IMPACT 100.
Inspired? Great! Find out if you have a local Impact already; if not, gather a few friends and start your own.
Kathleen has been an elementary school teacher, U.S. Navy officer, writer and speaker on military deployments and family life, counselor, college instructor, and coordinator of a hospital-based Employee Assistance Program. She has conducted hundreds of lively seminars for businesses, civic organizations, and non-profit groups on building personal skills and enhancing relationships. She has a bachelor’s degree in Education, a master’s in Management, and a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Kathleen and her co-author, Betsy Smith, Ph.D., wrote the award-winning book Second Blooming for Women: Growing a Life That Matters after Fifty. Both women are accomplished speakers. For more information, you can visit http://www.secondbloomingforwomen.com.