When Anne Trunzo heard about what Impact100 was doing in other parts of the country, she knew she had to bring it to southeast Wisconsin. Impact100 is a 501(c)3 organization focused on bringing together women to collectively support local causes and organizations.
“The collective giving model really resonates with a lot of women,” Trunzo said. “It allows us to come together, raise awareness, and be a part of something bigger than we could individually.”
Impact100 Greater Milwaukee is the recipient of the 2017 BizTimes Regional Spirit Award, presented at the May 24 Bravo! Entrepreneur and I.Q. (Innovation Quotient) Awards Luncheon during BizExpo at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.
There are 43 Impact100 chapters in the United States and Australia, with 14 more in development, Trunzo said.
In each chapter, at least 100 members – women, for most of the chapters – donate $1,100 annually and earn a vote toward the distribution of $100,000 grants to local organizations.
Grants are chosen and awarded via a competitive process that culminates at an event in June.
Impact100 Greater Milwaukee, founded in May 2015, was the 28th chapter to form in the U.S., and exceeded its membership goal in its first year.
In June 2016, Impact100 Greater Milwaukee awarded two $100,000 grants. Literacy Services of Wisconsin was awarded a grant to develop a new high school equivalency program to help students meet the needs of today’s employers, and Neu-Life Community Development Center earned a grant to expand after-school, summer, and youth-development programs in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood.
Adaptive Community Approach Program, Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee and Zachariah’s Acres each received $6,000 merit grants in the first year, as well.
“It’s so rewarding to be a part of something that creates meaningful change in the community,” said Cynthia Harris, Impact100 Greater Milwaukee co-founder.
There’s no requirement to volunteer, and members can be as involved as they want to beyond their monetary donation, Harris said.
Approximately 90 members take part in the grant review process, which includes a deep application and finance review, as well as site visits.
To date, there are 308 members of Impact100 Greater Milwaukee. The organization is reviewing grants for 2017 and will select five local nonprofits as finalists to present at the annual gathering on June 7.
Finalists are selected from one of five main cause areas, including: arts and culture, education, environment, family, and health and wellness.
Each contributing member gets one vote; this year, three organizations will be awarded a $100,000 grant.
The remaining organizations split the residual funds as merit grants that can be used for any purpose.
After the grants are awarded this year, Impact100 Greater Milwaukee will have awarded $526,000 to organizations throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Collectively, Impact100 organizations throughout the world have donated more than $45 million since 2001.
“Our focus is really to be an open invitation to give,” Harris said. “So much of this is about learning and awareness and creating exposure for organizations in our community, as well. Many of our members stay on to support these organizations in other ways after the grant review process; it’s truly rewarding.”
Membership is open to any woman age 21 or older from June through December each year, Trunzo said.