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Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis
Member Newsletter

October 2015

In This Issue
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A Message from the President 
Dear women of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis and our loyal supporters,
Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis president Beth Thomas
We celebrated our tenth year of collective giving with a bang, and our accomplishments are many. 
But before going on, I want to thank the outgoing president, Karen Holly, for all of her hard work and dedication. She has presided over Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis for the past two years, and her leadership and guidance has been instrumental in taking us where we are today.
Now, I invite you to celebrate our tenth-year accomplishments:
  • We gave grants totaling $184,000 at our 2015 Annual Dinner in June. Our $100,000 grant went to Indy Urban Acres, and $84,000 in unrestricted residual grants were divided equally among WFYI and Ted Green Films, OASIS Indianapolis, Lutheran Child and Family Services, and the Gennesaret Free Clinic for Homeless Women.
  • You donated $30,000 to the 2015 grant pool in honor of our tenth anniversary. $10,000 of these donated dollars were earmarked to provide scholarship memberships to ten women nominated by our past grant recipients. Calvalyn Day, Jessica Fifthen, Jill Harms, Rebecca James, Chelsea Martin, Caity Withers, Paula Katz, Alyssa Star Newerth, Caitlyn Potter, and Vicki Rubio brought a fresh perspective to our Focus Area Committees.
  • Our membership statistics were the best ever. We had:
    • 38% growth in membership from 2014 to 2015 (highest % growth in one year)
    • 80% retention rate from 2014 to 2015 (highest % in our history)
    • 40% of current members have been members for five or more years
    • 29 previous members came back in 2015 for our tenth anniversary year
  • We got the best news coverage and follow-up stories we've ever had. Our message of the Power of Women Giving as One was repeated on almost every local media source leading up to our June annual meeting and then followed up by announcing our winner, Indy Urban Acres.
  • Several of our previous grant winners have also had a great year: Rock Steady Boxing went international and both Outreach and Dove Recovery House announced they will be moving to larger facilities to increase the number of people they serve. Learn what Jameson Camp has accomplished in the accompanying article.
  • We now allow non-member donations into our grant pool. These donors do not have a vote at the Annual Meeting, but any amount of money is accepted from women, men, or organizations. It's all about collective giving, and this allows us to grow the amount we give.

Ten years and $1.6 million dollars represents a lot of hard work and dedication from you, our members and our board of directors. I have big shoes to fill this year, and I'm a pretty small person. I'm going to need help. If you're a member, reflect on why you're a member and tell your friends, associates, and family about what it means to you. Invite them to join us at an upcoming event, ask them to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and send them to our website at If you're not a member, let us know what is holding you back. Feel free to send me a note at  with your thoughts.

Here's to 2016. I challenge all of you to help me make it the best year ever.
Beth Thomas 
President, Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis
Following the Impact with a Visit to Jameson Camp 
By Beth Thomas   

I can't think of a better way to spend a late summer afternoon than out in the woods. And that's what we did when we visited
Jameson Camp to Follow the Impact on August 29. We were all impressed by what Jameson Camp does on a regular basis, and what they have accomplished since receiving the Impact 100 grant of $100,000 in 2012. But mostly, we enjoyed the special kind of woods experience a camper can have at Jameson.
Some of the fun things we not only got to see but also got to experience included:
  • The Hammock Garden: a wonderful shady area with hammocks designed for reading and quiet time. It's so peaceful
  • The Backyard Learning Pond: a place to see fish, frogs, tadpole-s, butterflies and birds
  • Gaga Ball: a variation on dodge ball
  • Hot Lava Trail: an obstacle course, where you imagine the ground is hot lava, and if you fall off the obstacles you are said to have fallen into the lava; the course included a black tube that you rolled from inside and a steel cable for balancing
  • The Treehouse: another quiet area, often used for bird watching
  • Native Plant Trail: they actually have two, one allowed to grow with invasive plants such as honeysuckle and the other with only native Indiana plants, allowing visitors to see the difference and better understand why it's important to keep out invasive species.
Jameson Camp welcomes Impact 100. 

For over 85 years, Jameson Camp has been impacting the lives of young people through their camp experience designed to develop self-respect and confidence as well as respect for others and the world around them. Their camps are open to everyone, and families pay what they can afford. They welcome all children, including those with social, emotional or behavioral challenges. They are the only camp in Indiana with a specialized session for youth impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Prior to 2012, Jameson Camp was serving an average of 500 children per year. Their grant proposal was to build their environmental education program and staffing and to enable them to serve 4000 children between 2012 and 2014. After their proposal and presentation in 2012, the women of Impact 100 selected Jameson Camp as the first $100,000 winner in the Environment Focus Area.

The obstacle course at Jameson Camp.

Jameson has far exceeded their goal, serving 7000 kids in 2014. In the first eight months of 2015, they have had 4000 students and campers participate in the environmental education programming.
Dan Shepley, Executive Director, explained that as the number of children they served increased, the number of people exposed to Jameson Camp increased. The number of income-producing activities, such as weddings, retreats, family reunions, and team-building programs, increased. All this exposure means more children in the camps, more income-producing activities, and (best of all) more people interested in supporting the camp.

The fish pond.

To get an idea of how special Jameson Camp is to those who experience it, watch this YouTube video on the Jameson Camp experience from the kids' view.
A Fun Night at City Market
Impact 100 hosted a party at the City Market on September 16. The event included a wine tasting from Grey Market Wines and a tour of the Catacombs under the City Market. There was a nice mix of old and new members, and several guests. Tyler Gough, from this year's Impact 100 $100,000 grant winner Indy Urban Acres, provided an update on what's going on at the farm. Indy Urban Acres, funded by the Indy Parks Foundation, provides fresh fruits and vegetables to food pantries in Indianapolis. Because they give away 100% of the food they grow, they will use our grant to grow and sell flowers in order to provide sustainable funding to the farm. The Impact 100 grant will also allow them to increase farm food output by 30%, to 40,000 pounds per year.  
Impact 100 member Jaree Ervin and guests enjoy the catacombs tour. Front row: Rachael Woods, Jaree Ervin. Back row: Lisa Maydwell, Glendal Jones, Janette Woods, Annette Lewis.
Next event: Follow the Impact at Rock Steady Boxing on October 7, from 5:30-7:30. Watch your email for an invitation.  
Impact 100 Wish List:  Will You Help Us Reach More Members? 

As an all-volunteer nonprofit, your $1,000 donation supports the grants given annually to five local nonprofits. All of our administrative costs, such as mailings, printing, website maintenance, public relations and outreach, and member events, are underwritten by separate fundraising efforts. And because Impact 100 is designed to maximize its mission of immediate impact, it does not benefit from an endowment.
"We have accomplished a great deal in the ten years since Impact 100 was founded," says co-founder Donna Oklak.  "However, there is a growing need to step up fundraising as we seek to give more grants and tell our story to new donors."
This summer when Impact 100 celebrated its 10th anniversary, numerous local media news stories heralded our $100,000 grant to Indy Urban Acres. All of this new coverage was thanks to a public relations firm that we hired to help broadcast our message. We hope to expand on the amazing success we had and continue to work with a PR firm this year. But our administrative fund must grow in order to continue outreach to the community .
Many nonprofits ask donors for a wish list.  Impact's wish list is for additional financial support to underwrite our efforts to tell even more women about Impact 100.
When you renew your membership, please consider an additional donation of $100 or $250.  If you have already renewed your membership, please consider an additional donation to cover increased public relations and outreach.  You may use the membership form for that additional contribution. Visit our website or send a check to P.O Box 40531, Indianapolis, IN 46240.  Contact Donna Oklak at   for more information.
Impact 100 News and Notes  
  • Congratulations to Impact 100 member Virginia (Ginger) Merkel, who will receive the 2015 Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)-Indiana Chapter's Volunteer Fundraiser Award in November. Ginger has been chair of the Tiffany Circle of the American Red Cross and is an advocate for women philanthropists. Ginger is a Certified Financial Planner with Wells Fargo Advisors.
  • Check out all of the wonderful news coverage we received this summer courtesy of Porch Light PR.
  • New research by the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy delves into how gender differences in income affect where couples give, their different motivations for giving, and who supports causes aimed at women and girls. Read more about the study  here.
Do you have great news about an Impact 100 member or grant recipient, or an interesting article to share on philanthropy? Please send your news to Jennifer Bortel so she can share it in the next newsletter.
Impact 100 Upcoming Events  
  • October 7: Rock Steady Boxing Follow the Impact
  • November 4: Dove Recovery House Follow the Impact
  • November 13: Sign up period begins for members to select a Focus Area Committee
  • December 10: Holiday Party at Kitchens by Design
  • December 31: Last day to become a member for 2016