Collective Impact

Collective Impact

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You can only do so much as an individual. You only have so much time, so much energy and so much money. But when you pool your efforts with hundreds of other like-minded women, you really can create an impact.


That’s the reason why local woman Wendy Steele founded Impact 100 in 2002. "By her work in the nonprofit community, [Steele] saw where a $1,000 contribution was great, but really what these nonprofits needed was a big sum of money to really make an impact and really bring a project or program to fruition," Impact 100 President-Elect Annemarie Henkel says. So every member of this organization donates $1,000, and for every 100 members, Impact 100 gives away a grant for at least $100,000.


Just as each member contributes money to the grant, each member also has a vote to decide what organization will receive the grant. This voting comes after an extensive application and review process where some Impact 100 members contribute their time and talents to determine five finalist nonprofit organizations.


"At the Annual Awards Celebration, the five finalists make presentations to members who then vote and determine the grant recipients for that year," Henkel says. While dessert is served, the Impact 100 auditor tallies the votes, and the grant recipients are announced that night for a sweet ending to the celebration.


"Since our inception nine years ago, more than $1.8 million has been awarded to the Greater Cincinnati community," Henkel says. The organization’s first grant provided McMicken Dental Center in Over the Rhine with $123,000 for new dental equipment to treat the homeless. And the 2010 Impact 100 members voted to give their grants to help Dress for Success Cincinnati start a mobile unit and Starfire U to provide two years of independent living programming to disabled young adults.


Next year marks the 10th anniversary for Impact 100, and their goal is to be able to give away at least $200,000 to reach a total of $2 million in grants given to Greater Cincinnati organizations. To be a part of this historical year of giving, just go to the Join Impact 100 page of the organization’s Web site and submit a completed membership form and payment by Dec. 31.


Once you are a member of Impact 100, you can decide how involved you want to be. "The beauty of the idea is that it can be as simple as writing a check and coming to the Annual Awards Celebration, or you can be as involved and do the grant reviews, go on site visits or even serve on other committees," Henkel says.


For more information about Impact 100, check out or click the play button below.



Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising section provided by The H.B., E.W. and F.R. Luther Charitable Foundation.




Photos courtesy of Impact 100