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Member profile: Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong did a little soul-searching last fall. She had been an Impact100 Philadelphia member for a decade. Was this still the right organization for her?

When hitting a milestone, Karen’s philosophy is to “take a look back and a look ahead to see if you’re where you need to be.” She researched other collective giving organizations, weighing each of her options carefully. “I wanted to investigate and try something different,” Karen said. “But I didn’t find anything that offered the same range of social events and volunteer opportunities.”

Karen’s investigation yielded an interesting result. She shares that Impact100 Philadelphia is ahead of the curve both in technology and succession planning. “It’s smart to cultivate the next generation,” she said. “It’s very forward-thinking to think about sustainability and not every organization does that well.”

Karen first heard about Impact100 Philadelphia in an Inquirer article about the inaugural grant cycle. She signed up right away. Karen has been on a Focus Area Committee for the last two grant cycles. This year, she read Letters of Inquiry. She describes it as an intense task, but a natural extension of the Focus Area Committee process.

But Karen’s favorite part of the grant cycle is the site visits. “We all joined because we want to know how nonprofits work,” she said. “To me, it’s the most interesting aspect.” Karen is impressed by her fellow Impact100 Philadelphia members. “Everyone knows that the group is relying on those who go to site visits. There’s a trust within the organization.”

Karen, who lives in Northeast Philadelphia, has recently joined the Membership Committee. She appreciates how many people are willing to lead, and that there is room for everyone to play a role in the organization as life circumstances allow. “Every person is the same in their sense of being philanthropic and caring about nonprofits,” Karen said. That common goal brings together so many different people.

Karen spends her free time volunteering as a member of Women for Greater Philadelphia, stewards of Laurel Hill Mansion in Fairmount Park. “The mansions are an asset for tourism in the city,” Karen explained. The stewards give tours and host events throughout the year sometimes in period costume.

“I’m glad I renewed, and am looking forward to another year,” Karen said. We’re looking forward to another year with you too, Karen.