VERO BEACH — Impact 100 women set a goal to have 300 women join them for their third annual membership drive. That goal was reached and then some with a whopping 340 women and counting, each pledging $1,000 a year. That money will be pooled into equal grants of $100,000 increments to deserving non-profits in Indian River County. The process began in September 2010, when all 175, non-profit organizations under the umbrella of the Indian River Community Foundation, were invited to a non-profit training seminar.
“Over 70 representatives from Indian River County 501 (c) 3 organizations came to our September training session to learn what’s required to apply for an Impact 100 grant,” said Grant Vice President Jane Coyle.
“Any organization that thought it might want to submit a grant sent us a Letter of Intent that was due November 9th. We received over 45 LOI’s. The LOI gave us basic information about the agency and grant title and also, importantly, included the IRS letter designating the agency as a 501 (c) 3. The LOI’s also help us plan for the number of volunteers needed for the grant process. In January 2011, Impact 100 received 24 quality grant applications. Every year the grant proposals get better and better.”
In January 2011, Impact 100 Grant Panel Committee members came together to review the granting process ground rules, and to reinforce what constitutes a transformational and sustainable grant.
“All panel members were required to sign a Conflict of Interest form and then assigned to appropriate panels within the four focus areas: Health and Wellness, Education, Family, and Education and Environment,” said Coyle.
In February, panel members met individually and were asked to sign a Memorandum of Confidentiality form. They then reviewed information from their assigned grants. Assigned to each panel is an Impact 100 member who is also a Financial Specialist and CPA who will analyze the financials and give input to the group.
Each person on a grants committee must attend a minimum of two site visits to obtain information and have questions answered. Captains for each grant visits were designated who will write up a report to distribute to grant panel members.
“At the second panel meeting the panel decides which grants, if any, will move to the next level. If some do move forward the grant site visit team writes a synopsis of the proposal for an oral presentation to the panel chairs and the Impact 100 Executive Committee. Each panel may move forward as many grants as they think are transformational and worthy of $100, 000,” said Coyle.
On Thursday, March 17 the grant finalists for 2011 will be announced.
Seven months of hard, intensive work will culminate at the annual meeting on Monday, April 11 when the entire membership comes together to hear presentations on those grants moved forward from the panels…and to pick their winners.
There are no losers because every finalist that does not garner the ultimate winning title will be given a grant for the amount that Impact 100 has left, over and above the $100,000 given to the winners.
Winners will be awarded $100,000 grants to help transform their agencies in ways never thought possible – now made a reality through the efforts of Impact 100 women.