The Greater Indianapolis Impact 100, a philanthropic giving circle, was founded in 2006. It was the fourth Impact 100 organization in the United States, following Cincinnati, Pensacola, and Austin, Texas.
Giving circles are notable in philanthropy because they are women-dominated. Since its founding, Impact 100 has embraced The Power of Women Giving as One (R). Each year, Indianapolis women join by making a tax-deductible contribution to the grant pool of $1,000 before December 31. One hundred percent of membership donations go into the grant pool. There is no staff, and administrative costs are raised separately. A $100,000 grant is awarded for every 100 members (some memberships are shared, with 2-4 women donating $1000 collectively). Each member receives one vote at the annual awards celebration. Members are encouraged to take part in the grant process by joining a committee tasked to use a four-step winnowing process to select the nonprofit eligible for that year’s Changemaker grant each June. Impact 100 also includes social, educational, and engagement components to connect participants to their communities.
Nearly 900 Indianapolis area members and alumnae have contributed to the grant pools. Seventeen nonprofits (in the focus areas of arts, education, environment, family and health, and wellness) have received $100,000 Change-maker grants. An additional 42 nonprofits have received unrestricted annual grants, ranging from $4,000 to $23,712. Impact 100 grantees have included medical clinics, schools, LGBTQ youth, young opioid mothers and children, Parkinson’s Disease patients, special-need young adults, human trafficking victims, and homeless youth.
In 2016 Impact 100 began a scholarship program for women in new nonprofit careers. The generosity of members and businesses underwrite the participation of 10-20 candidates each year.