Community Awards

Impact100’s Community Awards, launched in 2021, is a second funding program that gives smaller awards of $5,000 to $25,000, with specific amounts determined by Impact100’s funding pool for the year. In 2022, we will award $35,000: one award of $15,000 and two of $10,000. Awards are given to organizations that are performing outstanding, critical work but are not receiving significant funding from other funders. Smaller and/or newer organizations can be considered for these awards – that is, organizations that might not be a fit or might not be eligible for Impact’s Core Mission grants. 

The Community Awards program responds to Impact members’ desire to:

  • expand our funding to a more diverse group of nonprofit organizations,
  • be as inclusive of the nonprofit community as possible, and
  • have the ability to fund emerging and/or local critical needs. 

This program follows many of the tenets of trust-based philanthropy, which encourages funders to be equitable and inclusive.

 

How do organizations apply?

There is no application for Community Awards. Because award amounts are smaller, we do not want to divert time and effort from the nonprofit community to apply. Instead, our Community Awards Committee does the work to identify critical issues and unmet needs in the community, and candidate organizations addressing those issues and needs. 

 

How are organizations identified for consideration? How are funding decisions made?

The first step is to identify issues our current funding cycle will try to address. Impact’s Community Awards Committee (CAC) conducts research, reads a range of sources from local news to nonprofit newsletters, and talks with people in the field. In addition, Impact100 members are asked to suggest issues that the committee should consider. Based upon this input, the CAC determines its issues for the current year. 

Then the CAC starts to identify particular organizations working in these issue areas. At this stage, in addition to the CAC conducting independent research, all Impact members have the opportunity to nominate organizations for consideration. Ultimately, after significant research and discussion, the CAC selects finalists to present to the membership for a vote. Members’ votes determine the allocation of Community Award funds.

Please note this is still a pilot program. While a specific plan is in place, some changes may occur. What won’t change are Impact’s guiding principles that are true across our organization: Members will receive clear and timely communications about what’s happening with Community Awards throughout the spring. Funding decisions will ultimately rest in the hands of our entire membership.    

 

Who serves on the Community Awards Committee?

All members are eligible. Each year, members who are interested in serving on the Community Awards Committee can volunteer through our signup process in December, through the same survey used for our Focus Area Committees. 

 

What are the Community Awards eligibility requirements and funding priorities?

Eligibility requirements are very similar to those for our Core Mission grants. Community Award recipients must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (under their own name or via a fiscal sponsor) and they must be located in and serve residents in the counties in our funding region: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and/or Philadelphia. However, Community Award recipients are not required to have three years of independently prepared, audited or reviewed financial statements.

Because the Community Awards are relatively small, the CAC considers organizations where the awards can have a high impact – through the financial support, but also by putting a spotlight on an organization and/or a particular critical or emerging issue.  The committee prioritizes organizations with budgets less than $500,000 and with leadership that reflects and represents the populations they serve. 

 

How are the number and amounts of the awards determined?

Impact100 Philadelphia’s detailed funding matrix determines the distribution of funds for any year’s total funding pool. Community Award amounts can range from $5,000 to $25,000. 

In its pilot year, 2021, Community Awards had $20,000 in total funding, and distributed one award of $10,000 and two of $5,000. We are thrilled that our funding pool grew in 2022 and Community Awards now has a total of $35,000 to distribute as one award of $15,000 and two of $10,000. 

 

What is the timeframe for the Community Awards Committee’s work?

The Community Awards Committee operates on a timeframe and calendar almost identical to Impact100’s Focus Area Committees. The committee first convenes in February for orientation, and works through the spring in order to present finalists to the full membership in May. Member voting takes place on a single ballot for both Core Mission and Community Awards finalists.

 

How can I support Community Awards?

Everyone – member or non-member – is welcome and encouraged to donate additional funds to the grants pool before it closes in mid-November for the following year’s awards. These extra donations increase our funding across Core Mission and Operating grants as well as Community Awards. All donations make a big difference to the recipient organizations, and ultimately are used to enhance the lives of people in our region.