What This Philadelphia Women’s Collective Thinks the Greatest Local Needs Are

At the close of last year, we wrote that one of the first women’s giving circles that crossed our radar, Impact 100 Philadelphia, opened up a new giving cycle to make $380,000 in new funds available for local nonprofits.

Related: $380,000 is up for Grabs for Philadelphia Nonprofits in 2016

Now, the philanthropic group has selected its grantee finalists for 2016, and they say a lot about where the local needs are in Philadelphia. Five Philadelphia nonprofits are competing for $380,000 this year. Three of them will receive project grants of $100,000 each, two will receive $30,000 unrestricted operating support grants, and the leftover $20,000 will go towards additional unrestricted operating funds for project grant winners.

What’s interesting, here, is that the five competing nonprofits are working in totally different fields.

  • Arts & Culture: Art-Reach
  • Education: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Philadelphia
  • Environment: Delaware Valley Green Building Council
  • Family: CASA Youth Advocates, Inc.
  • Health & Wellness: Supportive Older Women's Network (SOWN)

And based on what these groups are planning to do with the funds, these are some common themes that have emerged:

  • Access to arts for disabled people
  • Volunteer advocacy for children from broken homes
  • Collaborative efforts to curb carbon emission and support for green buildings
  • Representation for abused and neglected children in the court system
  • Support for caregivers of the elderly and terminally ill

Since 2008, this women’s collective has awarded over $2 million to local groups, and it continues to grow by the year. Collective giving in 2016 is up by $2,000 from 2015. And a few months ago, the group announced two new board positions for this grant cycle. These new positions were for a development chair and a community liaison chair, and the organization’s goals were to reduce the work burden on individual board members, harness the skills and energy of new members, and create a pipeline for new leadership.

Camaraderie and community are a big part of how this funder operates, which fits nicely with the modern philanthropist’s mindset and current collaborative culture. To kick off the year, 60 new and nearly new members of the group gathered over wine and cheese to learn about pressing issues in Philadelphia and how they can help through Impact 100.

Co-president Mary Grace Tighe made the following statement in a press release:

Our collective model is very appealing to women looking to learn more about philanthropy and make a difference with their giving. Pooling donations allows us to make high-impact grants to Philadelphia area nonprofits and at the same time, educate and engage members in the issues they address.

The final grant decisions will be made at the collective’s annual meeting at the Crystal Tea Room on June 6. An initial 147 applicants submitted letters of inquiry to get a piece of this funding, and Impact 100 invited 46 of these groups to submit full applications.

If you’d like to get your organization involved in 2017, just remember that this women’s collective likes funding small nonprofits that don’t typically have access to grants as large as $100,000. After the 2016 awards are announced, check back on the Important Dates section or sign up for the Impact 100 Philadelphia email newsletter to keep up with the next set of deadlines.