Impact100 Philadelphia: Philadelphia Grants

OVERVIEW: Impact100 Philadelphia is a women’s collective that funds $100,000 program grants to local nonprofits in five focus areas. This organization does accept unsolicited letters of inquiry once per year for project support. But keep in mind that to be eligible for one of these grants, your nonprofit must be located in the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or in the county of Camden, New Jersey.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Family, and Health & Wellness

IP TAKE: This is an accessible funding group that can serve as resource for all kinds of lesser-known charitable causes in the Philadelphia area. 

PROFILE: Since 2008, Impact100 Philadelphia is a women’s collective giving organization that provides high-impact grants of $100,000 to local charitable initiatives that reach underserved populations. This is a unique grantmaking model that pools together the money of Impact100 members, who are women that can commit to contributing at least $1,000 each year. Every dollar donated by members directly supports grants. Interest earned on the collective fund and donations made specifically for operations pay for administrative costs. Impact100 won the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ “New Generation Philanthropists” award in 2010 and PathWays Trailblazer award in 2009. The foundation invests in Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Family, and Health & Wellness.

This organization works to increase women’s philanthropy in Philadelphia, as well as raise awareness about worthwhile, lesser-known charities in the region. This grantmaking group was patterned after the original Impact100 in Cincinnati, which has been operating since 2001 and donated nearly $2 million in local grants. Impact100 Philadelphia was founded in 2008 by Beth Margel Dahle and Mary Broach.

Impact100 looks for arts and culture initiatives that improve arts education and participation in the arts. Education funding considers opportunities for both children and adults. Environmental initiatives should improve urban spaces, preserve/revitalize facilities, or educate the public about environmental concern. Family initiatives should enhance the lives of children, and health initiatives can be for either physical or mental health.

Impact100 prioritizes projects that target underserved populations; nonprofits must have annual operating budgets between $300,000 and $5 million. To learn about the types of organizations that Impact100 Funds, check out the foundation's Grant Recipients page.  

Here’s what Stern had to say about how Impact100’s funding strategy differs from that of other foundations:

Our grant-making process is different from a professional foundation because each one of our members comes from a different background with different experiences, interests and ideas. Our process is collective from start to finish, with members reviewing proposals, going on site visits, reviewing financial statements and, ultimately, voting on the grant awards. One woman, one vote, so our 377 members will collectively award $377,000 to our five finalists in June at our Annual Meeting. Three finalists will receive $100,000 project grants, with the additional $77,000 being awarded as unrestricted operating grants for all five finalists.

Impact100 Philadelphia uses an online application process for both letters of inquiry and full proposals. Your only option is to apply for a $100,000 project grant, as leftover funds are distributed as unrestricted operating grants after the project grants are decided upon. Site visits are regularly conducted as part of the process after full proposals are narrowed down.

This is a foundation that believes in transparency, and the best place for new nonprofits to start is on the Grant Applications Overview page. Grant recipients are voted on by Impact100 members during the annual meeting in June. General inquiries can be directed to info@impact100philly.org

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