8.3 The Impact100 Grant Process

Approximately three weeks after the membership deadline, you will host your first Signature event – the BIG Reveal. It is at this event where you will announce to your community exactly how many members you have and how much money you have to give away to worthy nonprofits serving your region. In other words, the Big Reveal begins the grant process for the nonprofits in your defined geography.

Once area nonprofits know how many grants and how much each grant will be, they can determine which project or program they will seek funding for. They will also learn about Nonprofit training sessions and plan to attend.

Nonprofit training sessions are offered by each Impact100 chapter to explain the grant process, share the application and answer any questions from community nonprofits. We need strong applications from worthy nonprofits in your defined geography. Preparing area nonprofits for our application process and timing is an important part of our outreach. Some Impact100 chapters make attending a training session mandatory, but most do not. Attending will only benefit the nonprofit, so there is no need to mandate attendance. 

ProTip: If you do not get high attendance at your nonprofit training sessions, reach out to nonprofits in your service area to encourage their application to your Impact100 chapter.

Nonprofits are asked to complete the grant application and identify (by rank order) their affiliation with each of our five Focus Areas. In fact, most nonprofits can make the case that they connect with EVERY Focus Area. Take your local zoo, for example. As a cultural icon in your community, it clearly falls under Arts & Culture. Given the beautiful grounds and protected animals, the Environment, Preservation & Recreation Focus Area makes perfect sense. Zoos offer a variety of educational programming – making it a natural for the Education Committee. Zoos are attractive and fun to people of all ages, making it firmly fall into the Family committee. With the thousands of steps taken as you walk the grounds, enjoying the sunshine (Vitamin D) and peace of being out in nature, even the Health & Wellness Committee could be the right Focus Area for a local zoo. 

Completed grant applications are typically due three to four weeks after nonprofit training. Notably, some Impact100 chapters incorporate an initial phase of the application process by utilizing a Letter of Intent (LOI) prior to the actual grant application. Although this is an acceptable practice, it is not required.

As the applications are received, they are directed to the Focus Area Committees for grant evaluation and review. The Committee members will have all been trained to prepare themselves for this important work. They are all given the names of the nonprofit applications they will be reviewing, and each member will disclose any affiliations or loyalties to the rest of the group. Based on the level of loyalty or affiliation, certain members may be recused from the discussion of particular applications.

As the applicants are discussed, some may be eliminated from the applicant pool. Those nonprofits are notified by the Focus Area Committee (FAC) Chair via a standard message determined in advance. Each FAC chair send the same message in the same manner to be sure each nonprofit receives the same information under the same time frames. Maintaining a transparent process that maintains a level playing field for all applicants is an important aspect of the Impact100 Model.

Most Focus Area Committees select 3-6 applicants that merit a site visit. Prior to scheduling site visits, the applications are shared with the CIRC (Community Investment Review Committee) for financial review.

Upon approval by CIRC, the site visits are scheduled and executed. Review and evaluations continue until each Focus Area Committee has selected a single Grant Finalist to represent that Focus Area at the Annual Meeting.