A Few Things to Know About This Leading Women’s Giving Circle

Impact100 Philadelphia was one of the first women’s giving circles that we covered here at IP, and it continues to be one of the most active and influential ones in the country. The group recently awarded $360,000 to five local groups in Philadelphia, and what really caught our attention this round is the types of grants these women provide. The big grants are core mission grants. But they also award smaller general operating support grants from the “leftover funds” that are worth looking at, too.

Core Mission Grants

Core Mission grants are $100,000 grants that are the heart and soul of Impact100 giving. But the group has made some changes to these grants this year, after strategic planning and listening, to provide the kind of support that nonprofits so often say they need. This can include backing "for primary programs or services, or necessary improvements to infrastructure, or other initiatives to strengthen the nonprofit in its work in the Greater Philadelphia region." Core mission grants recently went to Interim House, the Attic Youth Center, and Community Volunteers in Medicine.

General Operating Grants

Although general operating grants are smaller (usually $30,000) and essentially consolation prizes, they’re still notable for their flexible terms and local prominence. Something that sets many women’s giving circles apart, including Impact100 Philadelphia, is their high-profile local events.

To choose between five grant finalists, members and friends of Impact100 met at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia to listen to case presentations from the nonprofits and cast their votes for the winners. The newest general operating grants went to Philadelphia Young Playwrights and the National Audubon Society of Audubon Pennsylvania.

A Preference for Small Nonprofits

Women’s giving circles have a reputation for attending to details and learning about underfunded nonprofits that tend to slip through the cracks. Accordingly, Impact100 Philadelphia has shown a strong preference for small nonprofits that will truly appreciate their support, rather than big-name institutions around the city.  

In a press release, co-president Claudie Williams commented "at this time of great uncertainty surrounding government funding, we see, perhaps more than ever, the importance of Impact100 Philadelphia's mission—women philanthropists collectively pooling their monies to provide large, private dollar grants to nonprofits in our region.”

Support from Local Funders

Notably, Impact100 Philadelphia gets support from other local funders that we’ve been keeping an eye on around town. One of these is Independence Blue Cross, whose foundation has emerged as a leader in Southeastern Pennsylvania health giving.

But make no mistake, individual donors comprise the backbone of Impact100 Philadelphia. This year, 360 women in Philadelphia came together to make these grants possible. Since this giving circle was established in 2008, local women have given over $2.3 million to their community. Grant categories are arts and culture, education, environment, family, and health and wellness. Learn more about the grant application process here.