Guest Editor: Wendy Steele, Founder, Impact 100 – Small Investments-Big Impact

In Features15 by Mary Kurek

Welcome to this very special edition of The Introducer Global Impact Networking Magazine!

This issue will focus on creating a legacy as we share inspiring stories from across the globe of change-makers determined to make the world a better place through their ideas, action, and contribution. Our hope in sharing these important stories is not only to spread the word about these amazing people and the work they are doing. More than that, we hope to inspire action and connection as a multiplier to their work and yours.

My name is Wendy Steele and I am honored to be this edition’s Guest Editor. I serve on Mary Kurek’s Board of Advisors in the Frontrunners League; which is a facilitated group of innovators and social impact leaders who connect, advise, mentor, and become a resource pool for social impact business development. I am also the Founder of Impact 100. Here’s a bit of my story:  In the summer of 2001, I was living in Cincinnati, Ohio (US) and was saddened by the number of women I knew who were not involved in their community. When asked, they gave legitimate reasons they couldn’t be involved. To me, those reasons were barriers that needed to be removed, because when women are involved in the community, the community is improved, and the women’s lives are transformed. As I studied each barrier and sought to remove it, piece by piece, I was building what we now know as the Impact 100 Model.  Impact 100 is simple: gather at least 100 women who each donate $1,000. Pool that money together, creating an additional grant with each increment of 100 women, resulting in a minimum grant size of $100,000. The local nonprofit community applies for grants in any one of five Focus Areas: Education, Environment, Preservation and Recreation, Family, Health/Wellness, and Arts/Culture. The organization is fully run by volunteers and women design their own membership experience by having the option of how and whether they will get involved. Members review the applications, make site visits and narrow the applicants down to a single Finalist in each Focus Area before ultimately casting their ballot for the most deserving nonprofit to receive the grants.

The very first Impact 100 organization launched in 2002 and gave a single grant of $123,000 to a dental clinic serving the needy and uninsured. By the end of 2018, 52 Impact 100 chapters around the globe had given away more than $67 million and the rate of growth is accelerating. Currently, there are more communities eager to launch an Impact 100 chapter than the total number of existing chapters combined!  As Founder, I support every Impact 100 chapter by providing coaching, best practices, training, and financial assistance. When we empower women to fund significant grants in their local communities, lives are changed, and communities are transformed. We are creating opportunities for almost anyone to become a philanthropist and make a difference.

If you would like to learn more about the Impact 100 movement, please let me know.

In the meantime, please read on and be introduced to Royals Diplomats Philanthropists: Legacy Impact.

Wendy Steele:  Founder and Chief Executive, Impact 100

Steele took her lifelong philanthropy advocacy to a new level when she created and launched an innovative pass-through foundation called Impact 100. The model takes transformational grants to the communities it serves across five broad focus areas: culture, education, environment, family, and health and wellness. The Impact 100 model has been replicated in more than 50 communities around the United States and Australia, and the Impact 100 Council is helping it grow. The model democratizes philanthropy and empowers women to see themselves as philanthropists and as a part of the solution in their local community. She is the recipient of the 2014 Jefferson Award for Public Service for her work in philanthropy.

Wendy’s Networking Interests:

  • Individuals and organizations aligned with our mission to empower women through philanthropy
  • Communities who are interested in launching an Impact 100 organization
  • Women looking to join this powerful movement in the United States or elsewhere