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Member profile: Allison Schapker

Ten Questions for Impact100 Philadelphia Board Member Allison Schapker

Philadelphia is a city for the ages. Although all of us love the iconic nature of our community, we recognize that we need new residents with fresh ideas to create a world class environment to lift the fortunes of the entire region. We were lucky that Allison Schapker chose our town 15 years ago, fresh out of University of Cincinnati, as a place to put down roots. Allison is a seasoned member of Impact100 Philadelphia, and has served as a grant evaluator, Focus Area Chairperson, and member of our Board of Directors. Her ideas, enthusiasm, and talents have made an enormous difference to our organization. Allison’s perspectives on her new hometown reflect our strengths, challenges, and the progress we have made to achieve our civic goals.

WHAT MADE YOU MOVE TO PHILADELPHIA?

I was smitten with its historic neighborhoods where rent was still cheap and parks, gardens, and open space were never more than a ten-minute walk from any doorstep.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN OUR ORGANIZATION?

I joined Impact100 Philadelphia as a way of experimenting with a way of giving that took my personal biases and preferences out of the equation. I also wanted to learn more about the nonprofit landscape in Philadelphia.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PHILANTHROPIC EXPERIENCE?

My first experience with philanthropy started in my elementary school cafeteria. I remember shaking down my classmates for change in order to donate to the local SPCA. I still keep the note thanking our school from the executive director. As a little girl, this experience with small scale philanthropy made me feel like I could affect change in a big adult world.

HOW DO YOUR PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES AFFECT YOUR PHILANTHROPIC CHOICES?

I work for the Fairmount Park Conservancy and see first-hand how the investment in time and resources to sustain critically important programs have demonstrated their value over time, but may not be new and exciting for funders. Impact100 Philadelphia’s core mission grants are critically important to help programs like these get some scale and room to work. I find myself looking for ways to give that are straightforward, aligned to the mission, and clear about outcomes.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF IMPACT100 PHILADELPHIA MEMBERSHIP?

I love our grants process, watching 30 points of view align around a consensus choice in our final Focus Area meeting. The culmination, awarding five meaningful grants at our Annual Meeting in June, is always exciting.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF VOLUNTEER JOB?

I really enjoy our community engagement opportunities. My favorite volunteer program is Love Your Park week coming up in May. Neighbors are given the tools and support to organize and spring clean their local park. Many of them go on to become friends and advocates for their community. It’s a great example of small investments of money having an impact citywide.

WHAT IMPRESSES YOU MOST ABOUT IMPACT100 PHILADELPHIA?

Since joining in 2014, I continue to be impressed by the leadership and ambition of the board. Core Mission Grants, a new identity and website, and the Young Philanthropists have all been rolled out while we continue to grow our membership. I think I felt most proud at last year’s 10th Annual Celebration, seeing so many grantees and members connecting in one room.

AS YOU COMPLETE YOUR SERVICE ON THE BOARD, WHAT IS YOUR WISH FOR IMPACT100 PHILADELPHIA?

My wish for Impact100 Philadelphia is that we continue to strengthen connections between women and philanthropy. Beyond the money that Impact100 raises each year, we can be a powerful convener of social capital, knowledge, and talent. I love imagining ways all of those forces can be placed in service solving the challenges facing our region. Our members, working with nonprofits can be a powerful lever for change.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST NEED IN OUR COMMUNITY?

The biggest need in our community right now is empathy, imagination, and will.

ARE YOU IN FOR MEMBERSHIP FOR THE 2019-2020 GRANT YEAR?

Absolutely!