Impact 100 Palm Beach County, a women’s nonprofit organization funding local initiatives in southern Palm Beach County, was formed in 2011 by (l-r) Lisa Mulhall, Tandy Robinson and Cindy Krebsbach, pictured recently at the Delray Beach Club. Tim Stepien /The Coastal Star
A charity founded by local women funds more than $6 million in special projects
By Sallie James
Connect with us, engage with us and be inspired by what we do to improve our community.
That’s the message of Impact 100, an all-woman organization that makes dreams come true by awarding transformational $100,000 grants to nonprofits in southern Palm Beach County.
Since 2012, Impact 100 has funded more than $6 million in special projects submitted by 99 local nonprofits. Fifty-six of the nonprofits received $100,000 grants and 43 received merit grants of lesser amounts.
The Palm Beach County chapter blossomed through grassroots efforts of three women.
It was 2011 when Delray Beach resident Tandy Robinson crossed paths with the Indian River chapter and knew she had to bring the organization south. Robinson and Boca Raton residents Lisa Mulhall and Cindy Krebsbach founded Impact 100 Palm Beach County and awarded their first $100,000 grant the following year.
“The first year the three of us would just meet in bagel joints around town,” said Robinson, remembering how they hammered out policies, procedures and their board membership over many cups of coffee. “The three of us would get together and brainstorm.”
Mulhall, an attorney who writes grants for cities, was certain that another funding source in south Palm Beach County would be welcomed.
“Boy, we’ve really come to find that that’s the truth,” Mulhall said.
The funding source is ingenious: Each member contributes $1,000 a year that goes into a self-perpetuating grant fund. Every 100 members provide enough money for one $100,000 grant, Robinson said.
The organization has grown from 148 members its first year to the current membership of 804, Krebsbach said.
“We are just becoming much more of a sophisticated organization. It’s very exciting,” she said.
After a decade, Palm Beach County has the second-largest Impact 100 chapter in the world.
How selection works
Impact 100 funded eight $100,000 grants for 2022-2023, said Kimberly Boldt, one of the organization’s co-presidents. Members range in age from their 20s to their 90s.
Grants are awarded in five categories — arts, culture and historic preservation; education; family; health and wellness; and environment and animal welfare.
Here’s how it works: Local nonprofits send in letters of intent for initiatives that need funding. A grant review committee assesses each application, selects semifinalists and conducts site visits.
Then finalists are chosen to make presentations at the organization’s annual Grand Awards Celebration. The Impact 100 membership votes on the winners.
This year’s winners will be chosen on April 30 at the Boca West Country Club. The deadline to apply was Nov. 1. To be eligible, nonprofits must be based in south Palm Beach County. Grant winners can re-apply every three years.
“It’s huge and transformational,” said co-president Jeannine Morris, a Realtor from Boca Raton.
It was for the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches, which received a $100,000 grant in 2022 that allowed formation of a second choir at the Boynton Beach Cultural Center. The grant also provided financial assistance for the tuition-based programming, said Young Singers Executive Director Holly J. Stewart.
“Without the grant, I couldn’t have done it,” Stewart said. “Impact 100 also helped me make the connections that made the program self-sustaining. They are an incredible group of women.”
Impact 100 is looking for applicants that have the means to complete the initiatives they are proposing and to produce measurable results.
“You don’t have to be one of the bigger nonprofits that have been doing this for years,” said Boldt, a lawyer from Boca Raton. “If the committee believes you can come through, that’s all that matters.”
Aiming for $1 million
Morris hopes to grow membership big enough to award $1 million a year.
“We’re going to get there, whether it’s this year or next year or the year after that,” she said.
The group meets monthly, but also has a calendar full of events that promote networking and fun.
The organization is open to any woman who is able to donate $1,000 to help fund the grants. For more information, see www.impact100pbc.org.