Expansion is the Name of the Game for This Philadelphia Funder

One of the more unique Philadelphia-based philanthropic entities that we’ve covered recently is Impact100, a women’s giving collective that has pooled the money of its members since 2008. This is the type of funder that isn’t afraid to take risks and listen to nonprofit leaders who dream big.

So who exactly are the big dreamers that are catching Impact100’s attention these days?

In the most recent Impact1000 grant cycle, Impact100 awarded $377,000 in grants to five local nonprofits for projects and operations. Both project-specific and unrestricted funding grants were announced at the group’s seventh annual meeting. Unrestricted grants are hard to come by these days, but keep in mind that Impact100’s are only worth a quarter of what the project grants are.

Here are a few details about the new grantees so you can see how your organization compares:

Awbury Arboretum

This Germantown arboretum was awarded a $100,000 project grant to expand its teen leadership program from 25 students to 100. The main goals of the program are to teach low-income teens about food, farming, entrepreneurship, and relationships.

The Center for Grieving Children

The Center for Grieving Children also received a $100,000 project grant to expand programming to 100-150 additional children coping with death in South/Southwest Philadelphia and Lower Northeast Philadelphia.

Community Learning Center

The last $100,000 project grant was awarded to the Community Learning Center. This money goes toward creating and testing GED instructional programs and lesson plans. CLC will test the curriculum among its current low-income adult students and then share the material with other adult literacy providers to reach 600 students in the first year.

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

One of the two groups that received $25,000 unrestricted grants is the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. This group will use the Impact100 money to expand “Tune Up Philly,” an arts education accessibility initiative, which will now include orchestra sessions on Saturdays.

Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance

The other unrestricted $25,000 grant went to the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, which will use the money to implement an electronic medical record system to expand the number of people it serves. At least 95 percent of this volunteer organization's clients are at or below 200 percent of the poverty level. 

Based on these recent awards, it seems that Impact100 is most interested one thing: expansion.

It's pretty clear that a common thread among these grantees is the expansion early-stage programs that are already working on a small scale. They aren’t seeking out true start-ups, but they’re still looking out for organizations that aren't on the radars of other funders. Basically, nonnprofits just need to prove a small measure of success and pitch an expansion plan to take that idea to the next level. 

Regardless of program area, they’re paying attention to Philadelphia’s most impoverished zip codes, especially in South/Southwest and Lower Northeast Philadelphia. They also tend to favor organizations that have operating budgets between $300,000 and $5 million.

When we interviewed Impact100’s Co-President, Jacquie Stern, she shared that her group’s funding strategy was different from other traditional foundations because all of the members come from different backgrounds and experiences. Since 2009, the women’s group (which is 377 women strong today) has awarded $1.645 million to Philadelphia nonprofits.

The funder’s application page has all the information you’ll need about application forms and important dates. Just keep in mind that Impact100 seeks projects or programs that expend grant funds within 15 months. To learn more about this transparent and approachable funder, check out our profile about Impact100 Philadelphia: Philadelphia Grants