We were formed in 2011 to improve our community through the power of women giving as one.
The spark for Impact 100 Palm Beach County came when Tandy Robinson was asked to join Indian River Impact 100 in nearby Vero Beach, FL. The original inspiration for Impact 100 came from a group of similarly-minded women in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wendy Steele had the idea to promote philanthropy among women. In 2001, Wendy mobilized close friends and business associates to form a the first Impact 100. The concept was simple, yet ambitious. The Cincinnati founders recruited 100 women to donate $1000 each, and collectively funded a $100,000 grant to a charitable initiative which demonstrated the potential for community impact and sustainability.
Recognizing the beauty and simplicity of the model, Tandy began thinking about starting a similar organization in south Florida. In October, 2010, Tandy reached out to Lisa Mulhall and Cindy Krebsbach to help establish Impact 100 Palm Beach County. The three co-founders met at morning meetings in local bagel shops for months as they developed the structure of the new organization. Recognizing that Palm Beach County is the size of the State of Rhode Island, and equally diverse, the co-founders decided to focus on the southern half of the county, leaving space for a future Impact 100 to serve the remaining area. From those breakfast meetings developed a successful movement called Impact 100 Palm Beach County.
“Our biggest dream for Impact 100 Palm Beach County is that we educate our members about the great need in our community and that we are informed and thoughtful in how we give funds back, so we can make the biggest impact possible with our $100,000 grants.”
– Co-founders Tandy Robinson, Cindy Krebsbach and Lisa Mulhall
The founding board of directors first met in September 2011 in preparation for a grant cycle in the spring of 2012. The board had the perfect mix of women with the necessary connections and business acumen to launch this new organization. We partnered with the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Inc. to establish our “fund”, assist us with an on-line grant platform and ensure transparency and credibility in our philanthropy. We exploited our talents, and what we didn’t know, we researched. We inquired with Impact 100 organizations across the nation as to their best practices and methods. We held a profound belief that ‘ordinary women’ can make an ‘extraordinary impact’ by pooling their financial resources. This mantra guided our work as we built out the Impact 100 Palm Beach County model. We focused on explosive growth in membership the first five years, coupled with structured grant application and review processes that garnered the respect of funders and non-profits, alike. By encouraging our members to participate on Focus Area Committees to review grant applications, and thereby learn more about needs in the community, we developed a reputation for being an ‘army of informed philanthropists’ who are changing the face of giving in southern Palm Beach County.
In April 2012, Impact 100 Palm Beach County held its first “Grand Award” meeting of its 148 initial members. One $100,000 grant was awarded to the Parent-Child Center for a model program to provide an on-site advocate for children being removed from their homes for abuse, abandonment or neglect. (Later that year the State of Florida granted the Parent-Child Center a $650,000 grant to take the program statewide.) Four other finalist nonprofit organizations each received $12,000 for their programming.
Over the next three years the organization grew by 100 members each year. In 2013 we had 220 members and distributed two $200,000 grants. In 2014 we grew to 320 members with three $100,000 grants. By 2015 we reached 438 members, had six finalist nonprofit organizations and distributed four $100,000 grants.
Women with incredible skills and talents joined the organization from its first year and began to take leadership positions. The co-founders began stepping aside in 2013 and Impact 100 was operating under a new leadership team by 2015.
In September 2015, Office Depot Foundation recognized Impact 100 Palm Beach County with its “Listen, Learn, Care” award.
In the fall of 2015 a group of dedicated women formed “Impact The Palm Beaches” in the format of Impact 100. This organization serves the northern half of our county and will ensure that our entire county is served by an Impact 100 group. They awarded their first $100,000 grant in December 2015.