Focus Area Committee Team meetings, nearing Finalist selection

The past few weeks have seen many changes to Impact100's grant process to respond to the coronavirus crisis. For grantees, we've accelerated payments and postponed reporting requirements. For applicants, we eliminated site visits, required no additional information, but offered the opportunity to send us a note conveying the new reality they face during the crisis. Impact members serving on Focus Area Committees (FACs) have moved entirely to a virtual process, and we're so appreciative of their flexibility but also their continuing dedication to studying materials and holding in-depth discussions.

Smaller teams within each Focus Area Committee are meeting this week and then each full FAC will gather in early May to select a Focus Area Finalist.

You can see all of Impact's changes affecting our members, applicants and grantees on our website banner. The banner also links to some moving comments from a nonprofit leader about the hardships brought on by the pandemic, and to some suggestions for where to donate now. The donation ideas draw from excellent resources gathered by the Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and The Center for High Impact Philanthropy, two local organizations that are providing outstanding leadership and guidance in this environment of rapid change and great need.

Our best wishes to all in the region during this challenging time.

"Why I'm a member"
Founders Fellow Inella Ray wrote :

While this year may be an anomaly, it marks my first exposure to Impact100 Philadelphia's decision-making process. I had an opportunity to ask Toby Gang , one of Impact’s Grants Co-Chairs, what this experience has been like and what is on the horizon. I hope you all enjoy this conversation as much as I did!
Inella Ray: What steps has Impact100 Philadelphia taken to respond to the needs of its community amid COVID-19?

Toby Gang: Our community includes both nonprofits and our members. As COVID-19 began to unravel, we had to take a step back and ask what we could do to be less burdensome to our applicants, while allowing them to provide information about their work and the impact that the crisis was having on their operations. First, we made all our 2020 grants funding unrestricted. Next, based on members’ input, we made an exception to allow our review teams to re-evaluate organizations that they had not moved forward, if they believed an organization should be reconsidered due to the pandemic. And last, because we will have a sixth finalist this year, we wanted to give members the ability to choose a COVID-19 relief fund as a finalist if they felt that was the place that Impact100's funding was needed most.

Our finalist selections will be made by Focus Area Committee members in early May, and grantee selections will follow, determined by a vote of all members. Our hope is to find those organizations doing their best in extraordinary circumstances and to fund their work. That’s the best we can do.

What has been most heartening and inspiring about the 2020 grant season? 

The work of Impact's Grants Planning Committee has been really important. We have used them as a springboard, as a research arm, and to ensure that our decisions are considered by a larger group than just my co-chair Renee Applegate and me. Once the board decided to add a COVID-19 fund to the process, we took it right back to the Grants Planning Committee and asked the group to do some research. There were funds popping up and we needed to do an evaluation of those funds. Our committee answered the call. They came up with selection criteria, did research, and came back to us with a short list of funds and their recommendations. Next week FAC volunteers will receive information on the COVID fund that they may consider as our sixth finalist.

Philadelphia is the poorest large city in the U.S., and the city’s inequities will likely be exacerbated because of COVID-19. How does Impact100 plan to help nonprofits serving the region’s most vulnerable?

One thing to remember is that we rely on our membership to do that. Women’s personal donations are very important. But the power of collective giving means that we can make a very big impact together. My $1,000 by itself will be appreciated by an organization, but women coming together as Impact members can help the community at a deeper and larger level. I’m hopeful there will continue to be many women who view collective giving as an important part of supporting and strengthening Philadelphia, especially in these times.
Thanks to Inella for her insightful conversation above. In return, we asked about her perspective:
Inella Ray is a first year Founders Fellow and offered these thoughts on her Impact experience.

What do you think of Impact100's Founders Fellows program?

The program is phenomenal. I'm meeting women I otherwise wouldn't meet, and connecting around things we're passionate about. And you realize you really have a say in the matter. Impact does a good job of respecting everyone's perspective and holding what people have to say in high regard. That's been a beautiful experience. 

Has anything surprised you so far?

I've been wowed by the attention that's put into the process. I think Impact100 takes very seriously its members' financial commitment. We're being thoughtful about where dollars are going -- we're not just simply raising capital. There's so much care and consideration for those who get selected, from the first round of proposals to those who are finalists. It shows me what good philanthropy looks like. 

It's early days, but has your Impact experience affected your personal or work life?

I'm a nonprofit professional, on the service side, and that's given me a unique perspective. Now, being on the other side and part of Impact100 discussions, it has really helped me be more thoughtful in my work, looking at what's happening, what can be measured, keeping track of what we've done to date. And when something's not working, being able to pivot. 

Personally, Impact has also opened me up to what's out there in the city and the work that's being done. I'm a Philadelphia native, really passionate about the city and its potential, really hopeful about what Philadelphia can do in the next decade. But it's important to acknowledge how our city has failed some vulnerable populations for a long time. I'm encouraged by Impact100 and other organizations to be a strong challenger to the inequities we see. Impact100 has taught me what we can do with our own money to help out organizations on the ground who know what to do. They just need the funding to do it. 
Grantee update

Checking in on a 2018 Core Mission Grantee:
Nationalities Services Center
 Nationalities Services Center received Impact100's $100,000 grant in 2018 to support its core mission of " welcoming and empowering immigrants to thrive in our communities and pursue a just future." NSC provides comprehensive services to immigrants and refugees, including legal protections, community integration, access to health and wellness services, and opportunities to achieve English language proficiency. 

A Philadelphia Inquirer article on April 14, referenced in NSC's tweet below, cited many local caus es especially in need of support at this time. The article specifically referenced NSC's “We’re in This Together” campaign that is raising funds to help area refugees and immigrants with necessities such as food, medicine, and other supplies.
Read more about Nationalities Services Center and view its news .

Impact100's website has summary information about all grantees from 2009 to 2019.
Upcoming dates & events
Watch our Events page for details about these and future programs.
Monday, April 27 , 7:30-8:30pm, online
Spring Education Program

Members, you must sign up for this program in order to get the Zoom link. If you haven't yet registered, watch for the invitation coming today.

This live session is open only to Impact100 members as we adjust to using a virtual format, but we hope to make the program recording available publicly . Please watch our social media for the link.

Monday, June 1 , evening, online
Annual Meeting

Save the date for the culmination of Impact's grant year, when we'll celebrate Impact100's 2020 grantees, as determined by members' votes.

Stay tuned for details coming in May!
Would you like to join us or tell others about Impact100?
Impact100 Philly's growth is due to our members' enthusiasm for collective giving.
If you'd like to tell others about our organization , please feel free to forward
this newsletter - and we thank you for spreading the word.
If you or a friend or colleague would like to join Impact100 , we'd love to have you!

Women age 36 and over join for $1,150; of that total, $1,000 is added to the grants pool for 2021. Women 35 and under join as Young Philanthropists at half that rate, $575.

Members who join or renew now are much-appreciated supporters for the June 2021 grants. Your early support is tremendously helpful for future planning, and we welcome you to attend events throughout 2020, follow our email updates, and learn about Impact100 during the year ahead.