Pandemic drives Oakland County women in their search for new partners

We are single, married, cat people and dog people, working from home with children and empty nesters. We are a diverse group of civic-minded women who, having spent several months socially isolated in lockdown, all have one thing in common:  we are looking for new partners.

Nonprofit partners, that is.

The women of Impact100 Oakland County recognize the public health emergency and the resulting economic shutdown has created an unprecedented need for critical services, supplies and support for our most vulnerable populations. Local nonprofits are the boots on the ground, and our goal is to support them in serving individuals, families and children who need help the most.

During a recent virtual Member Reveal party, Impact100 Oakland County announced that through our collective donations we will award three $85,000 grants (for a total of $255.000) to area nonprofits this year.

We encourage nonprofit grant applicants to think about projects they’d like to implement or expand, both in addressing the economic, social and health repercussions of the pandemic or in expanding their critical pre-pandemic work.

The grantmaking (or dare I say “matchmaking”) process works as follows:

  • Interested nonprofits visit the Impact100 Oakland County website and submit a letter of intent between May 18 and June 5. Eligible organizations must be a 501(c)(3) public charity, based in or collaborating with organizations in Oakland County, with a project or program that serves Oakland County residents.

  • Over the summer, committees comprising Impact100 Oakland County volunteers review the nonprofits’ grant applications, assess their merits and choose two or three semi-finalists. Then the committees perform site visits (where possible) and identify finalists.

  • Nonprofits are notified of review decisions by mid-September. Finalists submit executive summaries of their proposals, which are emailed to the Impact100 Oakland County members.

  • Representatives from the finalist organizations present at our Annual Meeting. Each Impact100 member votes by ranking her preferred grant recipients. The organizations receiving the most votes will receive the full grant awards. The grant recipients are announced and celebrated at the conclusion of the meeting.

Impact100 founder Wendy Steele has said she believes the success of our organization comes from the strength of our grant application review and voting processes. By partnering with nonprofits on large-scale programs, the women of Impact100 Oakland County can maximize the impact of our giving and affect real change in our community during this challenging time.

Meredith Meyer is an Impact100 Oakland County member since 2017 and a member of the public relations committee.