November 21, 2016
Impact 100 Jersey Coast held its first annual meeting Thursday evening, where the organization awarded its first inaugural $145,000 grant to 180 Turning Lives Around for its Family Justice Center program.
According to Aimee Remey, Chair of Impact Communications, cheers and applause filled the room at the Navesink Country Club, where 135 Impact members, finalists and guests gathered to hear presentations from five Impact grant finalists. After the presentations, membership votes were tallied and the winner announced.
All five presentations provided important insights into programs that have tremendous impact on Monmouth County residents. Speaking on behalf of 180 Turning Lives Around, Susan Preston, Founding Mother and former Board Chair of the organization, explained how just 40 years ago, women dealing with domestic violence were placed in private homes and today the organization has its own shelter. “The Family Justice Center of Monmouth County is the next step that will take the organization into the next 40 years.
Unfortunately domestic abuse and violence still exist in our society. We know that the Family Justice Center model reduces homicides and increases conviction rates.” Highlighting recent domestic violence murders in Monmouth County, Preston added “maybe if this program had been available to these women their deaths may have been prevented.”
Anna Diaz-White, Executive Director of 180 Turning Lives Around said that “one in four women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime and that every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.”
The Impact grant will allow 180 to pursue The Family Justice Center (FJC), following a state of the art, evidence-based national model, which will address the needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse/neglect and human trafficking and improve the victim response system in Monmouth County This model transforms the experience of victims and increases service effectiveness in a Center that will be safety focused, survivor driven, culturally competent, and open to positive change.
FJCs integrate law enforcement and victim services, in order to strengthen prevention efforts, hold offenders accountable, reduce recidivism, provide trauma-recovery child and adult mental health services and housing/financial/legal support services all under one roof.
Impact 100 Jersey Coast Co-founder and President Deirdre O’Brien Spiropoulos said that the entire room was at a standstill as women sat in awe during all the presentations. “The personal connection, woman to woman, was an emotional experience to all present. It was so moving.”
The five nonprofit finalists who presented were: Monmouth County Arts Council (Arts & Culture grant category); 180 Turning Lives Around (Children & Families); Community YMCA (Education); Clean Ocean Action (Environment, Parks & Recreation); and The Parker Family Health Center (Health & Wellness). “All five finalists were amazing and it was truly a difficult choice to make, and small comfort to know that we could not have made a bad one in such company. I know I am not alone in wanting to stay connected with the organizations I’ve been especially moved by, in wanting to contribute in some measure, even if it wasn’t with this year’s grant,” said Heather Burke, Co-founder and Vice President.
In keeping with this sentiment, every member left the Annual Meeting with a packet containing wish lists from the five finalist organizations and information about all the nonprofit applicants, and all Impact members are encouraged to become more involved in the groups so the impact continues.
Nearly half of the Impact membership base stepped up to participate in Impact’s “hands-on approach to giving” by serving on a focus area committee. Lisa Atallah served on one of these committees and spoke at the event about her experience.
“My experience gave me a new perspective on what giving truly means. I felt connected to the pulse of the community. I felt that through my participation with this committee, and Impact 100, I was becoming a well-rounded community advocate. I look forward to participating again next year and I encourage each and every one to do the same!”
Impact 100 Jersey Coast is a philanthropic organization that brings together at least 100 women – each donating $1,000 – in a common purpose: to award an “Impact Grant” of $100,000 every year to a Monmouth County nonprofit organization that would otherwise not have access to that level of funding. This year, with 145 members, one $145,000 grant was awarded.
Impact’s 2017 goal is to expand membership with the hopes of awarding two high-impact grants in 2017. Its mission is to increase the number of women involved in local philanthropy, raise awareness of the unmet needs of nonprofits in Monmouth County, encourage members to become more involved with local charities and make an impact on the long-term sustainability of Monmouth County’s nonprofit community. Women may join from now until March 31, 2017 for the 2017 membership year. Please visit www.impact100jerseycoast.org for more information.
About Impact 100 Jersey Coast:
Impact 100 Jersey Coast unites women to make a lasting impact by collectively funding transformative grants in the Jersey Coast region. Combining not only the charitable dollars but the experience and energy of a diverse group of local women, Impact 100 Jersey Coast is a unique coalition and a powerful force for change in our community. Please visit www.impact100jerseycoast.org.