I remember when I was first approached about attending Impact 100 Traverse City. It was late fall 2016 and Team Elmer’s Tonya Wildfong met with me to explain what the group was trying to do. I have to admit I didn’t really get it at first. If someone asks you to contribute $ 1,000, that in itself is a big question. If they then tell you that your donation will be pooled with at least ninety-nine $ 1,000 in donations, you are probably skeptical. Finally, when you hear that your $ 1,000 donation will get you a single vote for one of five nonprofit finalists, you may truly be lost. At least for a moment.
I remember asking Tonya, “Why shouldn’t I just donate $ 1,000 to my favorite nonprofit?”
Tonya explained to me that I definitely can. She said if I felt strong for a particular charity and wanted to donate, I definitely should. But then she said that the power to combine our individual gifts made something really unique. It allowed our church to think big. That is the purpose of Impact 100.
That’s when it happened. The “a-ha” moment. In all honesty, I said “ah-ha” when I finally connected the dots.
I worked for a non-profit organization for six years. It was a challenging, emotionally exhausting job. It took patience and creativity, but the results – the real joy of working with children at risk – have been immensely rewarding. Unfortunately, we’ve spent so many years keeping our metaphorical heads afloat that we’ve never been able to actually think about the future. Putting together grants and donations and income to keep the lights on and pay the staff was more than a full-time job. I thought for a moment what could have happened if someone told us we had $ 100,000. What could we have created with the ability to dream?
Since that day I have been a member of Impact 100 and an advocate of the powerful Impact 100 donation opportunity. In 2017, the opening year, 255 women joined Impact 100. This resulted in two gifts of US $ 127,500 to Inland Marine Education and Peace Ranch. The following year, Traverse City’s Impact 100 group made two grants of $ 123,500 each to communities in schools and addiction treatment services. In 2019 and 2020, Impact 100 TC recruited over 300 members, resulting in gifts of over $ 100,000 to Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center, Northwest Michigan Children and Family Services, Kalkaska Interfaith Resources, Newton’s Road Northwest, Michaels Place and Habitat for Humanity. In total, Impact 100 Traverse City has donated more than $ 1,122,000 to nonprofits in the area in just four years. Over a million dollars impact our community and enable nonprofits to dream.
Recruiting members over the course of 2020 has proven to be challenging for obvious reasons. The traditional social mixers for personal members have been scrapped for zoom meet-ups, but the women from the all-female, all volunteer organization are focused on recruiting.
There are many reasons to join Impact 100. For me, however, it was more than I could ever ask to know that I had played a small role in creating real, transformative change in my community.
If you are interested in becoming a member, learn more, inquire about scholarships, or apply for one of the Transformational Scholarships, visit https://www.impacttc.org/
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