Impact 100 comes to Louisville
By Chloe Games
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
“It’s a simple model,” Vice President of Impact 100 Louisville Luckett Davidson says.
The latest nonprofit on the local scene, Impact 100 Louisville is gathering momentum as a force for change. Modeled on a three-part approach to collective giving championed by founder Wendy Steele, the exclusively female endeavor touched down in Louisville at the end of last year. Now, six women are growing the new chapter from the ground up.
With an international blueprint guiding the new chapter’s development and a track record of success in nearby cities, the all-female board is confident that Impact 100 Louisville will be a force for positive change in the lives of women and the metropolitan community. Carey Goldstein, co-president and one-half of the mother-daughter duo that brought Impact 100 to Louisville, looks to our neighbors for a vision of what Impact 100 can do here in town. “If you look at our counterpart in Owensboro, they’ve been around for 15 years and they’ve given away $3 million in their community in that amount of time, which is transformational,” she says. “Financially, I hope that it can make some of our nonprofits grow, dream big, make more of an impact on the group they’re trying to make an impact with and for.” Recently, the Owensboro giving circle made headlines with a contribution to St. Joseph’s Peace Mission. The Owensboro nonprofit was able to open a new facility, Hayden Home for Girls, thanks to the grant raised by the women’s giving organization.
This kind of “big impact” is a foundational part of the organization’s model. Steele’s internationally-adopted model calls for a group of 100 women to come together, with each woman giving $1,000. This pool of resources becomes a $100,000 grant, and after careful vetting and collaborative decision-making, a local nonprofit takes home the check. This grant is only one element of the organization’s impact, however. “Not only do women make the decision about who they’re giving to, but also what they’re voting for,” Goldstein explains.
“$1,000 is a large ask,” she adds. “We always say it’s a ‘stop-and-think give,’ but to know that you’re part of a $100,000 grant is empowering.”
Although only one nonprofit will ultimately be chosen by members to receive each grant, the organization’s impact goes beyond this annual gift. “In the process, we won’t just learn about the ones that win,” Davidson explains. “We’ll learn about all the ones that applied. As members become involved in that process, that’s both empowering for the members because they learn more about what’s going on in the community, and it’s also empowering for the organizations because other people will know what they’re doing.”
“This is an opportunity to lift all boats up,” Goldstein agrees. As membership grows, the group’s impact has the ability to surpass a single $100,000 annual grant. “I hope to be able to give away more than one grant,” Goldstein says. The Pensacola, Florida chapter of Impact 100 is a shining example of the amount of outreach that members can engage in: in 2019 alone, 11 nonprofit groups were each granted donations of $106,000, with the money going towards efforts to strengthen families, empower classrooms, and end hunger locally.
With a total of over $80 million given to date to communities across the United States, Australia, and the UK, the ceiling for change continues to rise. One of the most incredible facets of Impact 100, however, is that this change always happens locally. Nonprofits applying for the grants can have a national affiliation, but Goldstein says, “This money has to be spent here. There has to be a project or something that they’re working on in our community.” In this way, the organization’s impact will be tailored to what Louisville women feel is most critical.
“I’ll be interested to see what our members feel is important,” Treasurer Angela Singla says. With five focus areas – including arts and culture, education, environment preservation and recreation, family and health and wellness – the group’s pooled resources have the potential to nourish diverse areas of life in Louisville.
While March is the final month for women to join Impact 100, the following months have a lot in store for its new members. “We are focused on building our membership to 100 at least and then we’re looking towards the grant process, to announce how much money we actually have to give away, and then we will receive grant proposals,” says Goldstein.
Alison Brehm is the secretary and legal counsel for Impact 100 Louisville. “We’re almost halfway to our membership goal,” she says, “so we’re really excited about the momentum and the support we’re getting from the community right now.” She’s optimistic about what’s on the horizon for the group. “Getting the reception that we’ve gotten so far just goes to show the charitable spirit of Louisville, and especially the women of Louisville. It’s going to be really exciting and fun to see how we all come together.” V
To learn more, visit Impact100council.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.