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Sarasota Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 3 months ago

Philanthropy group empowers women to give back

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Impact 100 SRQ is an all-women organization on a mission to give away transformational community grants.
by: Shane Donglasan Community Reporter
Members of the Impact 100 SRQ Board of Directors during the chapter's launch event on Nov. 4.

Sarasota is a community filled with numerous ways to give back, and now a new initiative called Impact 100 SRQ is introducing a new model for women to get involved in local philanthropy.

Launched earlier this month, Impact 100 SRQ is the local chapter of Impact 100 Council, an organization started by Wendy Steele in Cincinnati. Since its founding in 2001, Impact 100 has expanded to more than 50 chapters across the U.S. and Australia. 

The Impact 100 model starts with at least 100 women who each donate $1,000. The donations go into a pooled fund for community grants which are dispersed at $100,000 increments. Committee members within the chapter review grant applications from nonprofits and choose finalists. Each member of the chapter then votes for one of the finalists to receive the grant.

Impact 100 chapters have given away more than $55 million since 2001.

Impact 100 SRQ President Jane Watt founded the chapter, along with friends Jodie Zerega and Tilly McFadden, after she was inspired by her mother and sister's involvement in their local Pensacola chapter.

“We wanted to start a chapter here in Sarasota as a way to offer a fresh approach to philanthropy that has proven to be successful,” Watt said. “We want to be a diverse organization that unites all women. You could be a lifelong philanthropist or be completely new to the world of philanthropy. You can also choose how involved you want to be.”

Impact 100 SRQ’s grants will be open to nonprofits in Sarasota and Manatee counties that fall under one of five focus areas: education, family, health, arts and culture, and environmental, recreation and preservation.

“It’s a transformative amount for any nonprofit to be able to have, and help them achieve a major goal,” said Watt.

The chapter currently has 90 members, but Watt hopes for the group to grow in membership beyond 100 women and eventually be able to award one $100,000 grant to a nonprofit in each of the focus areas.

“A thousand dollars is a lot of money no matter who you are,” Watt said. “The whole amount goes directly towards the grants. It makes you think about where you want your money to go and encourages women to participate and engage with the nonprofits in our community.”

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