April 20, 2017
With November’s election suggesting reduced funds for rising local needs, thirty Essex County women have joined to fund innovative programs addressing unmet needs of underserved populations in Essex County. Adopting a national model, Impact100 Essex stirs women to identify, research and collaboratively fund local non-profits seeking to expand or deepen their programing. Impact 100 programs across the country have raised over $45 million dollars since 2001.
“The Impact 100 model offers local women a unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on approach to giving,” said Margo Greenfield, organizer of Impact100 Essex. “Collectively pooling our resources, we can make a significant impact in a way we could not have otherwise as separate individuals.”
The concept is simple. 100 women each contribute $1,000 to fund a high impact grant to a local non-profit. Members review applications and vote on the final recipient. Every dollar is used toward the grant. Two Impact100 programs covering six other counties in northern and coastal New Jersey have raised over a million dollars in the last four years while building effective, innovative collaborations among agencies serving veterans, the food insecure and families affected by domestic violence.
“A significant grant can be an immediate, visible vehicle to make lives better, here in our own cities and towns,” said Helen Mazarakis, Grant Committee Chair. “Essex County is home to hundreds of non-profits that long to strengthen or expand their mission. A non-profit applying for a $100,000 grant must propose a program that is both transformative and sustainable.”
The Impact100 Steering Committee sponsors informal gatherings to explain the women’s giving circle and enlist support. “There was a terrific turnout to our initial information session,” said Ellen Greenfield, Marketing Co-Chair. “By our third gathering we had enlisted a multi-generational membership of thirty women from East Orange to Montclair, from Bloomfield, to Millburn.” Additional information sessions are scheduled for April 28 and May 4 with more to come.
Impact100 Essex welcomes all who want to know more. Impact100 Essex will complete its membership drive in June, and solicit applications and review submissions in the fall. Members will vote on the award at the Impact100 Essex Annual Meeting in early 2018. Details about membership in Impact 100 are available on www.Impact100Essex.org.
The Community Foundation of New Jersey is hosting Impact100 Essex, and provides significant administrative support to the organization. “When Impact 100 was just an idea incubating at the Community Foundation with the vision of a few of our fundholders, we never would have imagined how successful a philanthropic partnership it could become,” said Margarethe Laurenzi, the Foundation’s Director, Leadership Grantmaking and Engagement. “Now, hundreds of energized women are collaborating to add an important dimension to charitable grantmaking in our state.”