A Closer Look at Impact 100 Chicago’s Local Giving

If you check out our Philadelphia blog from time to time, you might have learned a thing or two about Impact 100 Philadelphia, which is a women’s collective that funds $100,000 program grants to local nonprofits. Well, Philadelphia isn’t the only city with an active Impact 100 chapter, and as you might have guessed, Chicago is on the list.

The Chicago group recently made headlines when it made its annual grant awards in the city. Georgy Ann Peluchiwski is the co-founder and president of the Chicago chapter, and there’s a separate chapter for the Chicago suburbs.

"I feel more hopeful when reading the newspaper," Peluchiwski said. "I now know there are very smart, capable leaders in our community who do know how to address challenging issues like education, violence homelessness, and mental health."

These are some of the newest nonprofits chosen to receive Impact 100 Chicago’s 2015 support:

  • Albany Park Theater Project
  • Free Spirit Media
  • The North Lawndale Employment Network
  • Turning Point Behavioral Health Center

Each of these groups received the full $100,000; however, seven nonprofits received $10,000 to $18,000 merit grants instead. You can view a full list of 2015 grant recipients on the funder’s website. The group is focused on youth engagement, mental health, and economic advancement in poor neighborhoods, lately. So these are good areas to focus on in your proposals for upcoming grant cycles. Other topics receiving support include theater, the Muslim community, and refugees.

One trend that Peluchiwski observes is that some local nonprofit leaders are actually joining Impact 100 Chicago themselves to give back to their communities in different ways. Membership applications are accepted through December 31, 2015.

For grantseekers, these are the five focus areas for which Impact 100 Chicago currently accepts applications:

  • Culture—explore and educate about arts, cultural heritage, and diversity
  • Education—learning opportunities for children and adults
  • Family—programs for families and children in the community
  • Health—physical and mental wellbeing
  • Sustainability—open and public spaces, healthy food systems, urban agriculture, environment

Letters of inquiry are typically due in early December; full applications are due in mid-February. Questions can be directed to grants@impact100chicago.org.

Since any organization can adopt the Impact 100 model, this is a loose affiliation that doesn’t require registration or fees to any parent organization. In all locations, women members make $1,000, tax-deductible donations, which are pooled together to create $100,000 grants decided upon by volunteers.

It’s a really interesting approach to philanthropy that we’ll be continuing to follow in the regions we cover. They always have a local focus, which is key for so many community organizations that get overlooked by the big national funders. Impact 100 is hosting a global conference in Delray Beach, Florida, October 23-25, 2016 if you’re interested in joining the groups or suggesting speakers or session topics.

To learn more about this Chicago funder, check out IP’s full profile of Impact 100 Chicago