1. What exactly is changing in Impact’s grant-making in 2017?
Instead of funding “new or expanded projects,” Impact100’s $100,000 grant will now fund a grantee’s work in support of its core mission. This “core mission support” could be for primary programs or services, or necessary improvements to infrastructure, or other initiatives to strengthen the nonprofit in its work in the Greater Philadelphia region. A second change is that Impact is lengthening its grant period – the time that grantees have to expend the $100,000 — from 15 to 24 months.
Beyond some adjustments to the questions Impact100 asks of applicants, the grants process will remain much the same in structure and timing, for both applicants and members.
2. Why is Impact100 making this change?
These changes come as the result of a year-long strategic planning process and a close look at the effectiveness of Impact100’s grant-making. Philanthropic research has found that restricted project funding can hamper a nonprofit’s ability to implement core programs, leads to an under-investment in infrastructure and is linked to poor performance.
Through member focus groups and interviews conducted with our grantees and local foundations, the Impact100 Grants Committee heard strong support for the idea of shifting away from funding only new or expanded projects, and also for lengthening the grant period. The support for this change — in the field of philanthropy, from our past grantees, and from both new and long-time Impact100 members — resulted in unanimous approval by the Grants Committee and Impact100’s Board of Directors.
3. How will the impact of our dollars be measured?
Much like assessing our project funding, Impact100 will evaluate the effectiveness of the new core mission grants by looking at grantees’ accomplishments with the grant funds. We will ask the same types of questions: What difference did this funding make? How many people benefitted from it? What is the organization’s position after the grant (its financial stability, staffing, programming outcomes, access to additional funding, etc.) as compared to before the grant?