Frequently Asked Questions

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OVERVIEW

What is the mission of Impact 100 Redwood Circle?

Impact 100 Redwood Circle (RC) empowers and enables local women to serve as philanthropic leaders by collectively funding significant grants to make a lasting impact in our community.

How does it work?

Impact 100 RC is comprised of 100 or more women, each of whom makes an annual donation of $1,000. The group assesses critical needs in our community, reviews nonprofit grant requests for financial support, and awards one “Impact Grant” of $100,000 each year, as well as additional smaller grants as funding allows. All grant awards for Impact 100 RC are determined by all members of the group.

Impact 100 RC is hosted by the Community Foundation Sonoma County. All donations to Impact 100 RC are tax deductible through the 501(c)(3) status of the Community Foundation.

What is the purpose of Impact 100 Redwood Circle?
  • To engage women in philanthropy and collectively fund grants to non-profit organizations in Sonoma County, selected through a competitive review process
  • To formally educate women about the issues/needs within Sonoma County and about the non-profit programs and initiatives working to address these needs
  • To help local women leaders identify and develop opportunities for individual philanthropy and volunteer involvement
  • To provide opportunities for women to network and socialize
What other services does the Community Foundation provide to Impact 100 RC?
  • Operating under the Foundation’s 501(c)(3) status ensures that Impact 100 RC legally complies with all non-profit rules and regulations, and that all donations are tax deductible. The Foundation has processes in place to ensure proper recording, management and protection of donations. It conducts all necessary audits, and provides all required insurance
  • The Foundation does the bookkeeping for both the Impact Fund and the Impact 100 RC administrative expense fund, including issuing checks for all expenses
  • The Foundation provides many additional administrative functions, including acknowledgements for donor tax deduction record keeping, and providing periodic reports regarding memberships and financial balances and activity
  • The association of Impact 100 RC with the Community Foundation lends credibility in the community
  • For these services, and for the investment fees associated with managing our funds, the annual charge is approximately 1.5% of the assets under management. This fee is lower than the usual fee charged by the Foundation, and a very reasonable cost for the level of service provided.

MEMBERSHIP

How much does it cost to join Impact 100 Redwood Circle?
  • $1,000 per annual grant cycle. 100% of this donation goes into the Impact Grant fund and is tax deductible
  • An additional tax deductible donation of at least $75 per year from each member covers administrative costs. Some women choose to give more.
What is the deadline for joining?
  • The annual deadline is December 31st
  • In order to participate in any year’s Impact Grant determinations, membership must be received by December 31st of the previous year.  For example, memberships received by December 31, 2017, are able to participate in the 2018 Impact Grant and Community Grant awards determinations.
What if I can’t contribute $1,000 a year?
  • The alternative is to form a “Circle within the Circle”
    • Two women donate $500 each (equaling $1,000)
    • An additional tax deductible donation of at least $50 per year from each member covers administrative costs. Some women choose to give more.
    • Women find their own “partner” to form their Circle within the Circle before joining
    • The Circle within the Circle shares one vote in the Grant decision process
    • Only one member of the Circle can participate on the Grant Committee or the Leadership Board. Membership on other committees is unrestricted.
  • Please contact Cindy Schmidt @ cindys24@hotmail.com for registration materials if you are interested in forming a Circle within the Circle.
What is the expected time commitment from members?

Members of Impact 100 Redwood Circle can be involved in the organization as much or as little as they choose. Members may choose to serve on the Leadership Board or one of the committees, or simply participate through their donation and attendance at the annual membership meeting.


LEADERSHIP and COMMITTEES:

What is the leadership structure for Impact 100 Redwood Circle?
  • Leadership Team – comprised of president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, “internal communication coordinator”, committee chairs, and other member(s) as the organization deems necessary.
  • Primary duties include:
    • Strategic direction
    • Policy setting
    • Financial oversight
    • Committee oversight
    • Internal communications coordinator is responsible for maintenance of the membership database/roster and coordination of communications to the Leadership Team, committee chairs, members, and prospective members.
  • Impact 100 RC is hosted by the Community Foundation of Sonoma County. The organization does not need its own Articles of Incorporation or bylaws, as it operates under the umbrella of the Community Foundation, nor will Impact 100 RC require a legal governing board. The president and treasurer serve as the primary liaisons to the Foundation.
What committees are there?
  • Grant Committee
    • Manage the grant application and grant awarding process
      • Solicit and review letters of inquiry
      • Solicit grant proposals and support grant process
      • Establish criteria for evaluating grant applications
      • Review all grant proposals and conduct site visits
      • Recommend three finalists for membership vote
    • Subcommittees may be formed for the following types of tasks:
      • Review financial statements included in the grant proposals
      • Review the outcome measurement reports/data submitted by grant recipients and present impact reports to the membership
  • Marketing and Communications Committee
    • Develop and maintain marketing materials
    • Build awareness for the organization in the community
      • Develop and maintain website (WordPress) and social media presence (including Facebook page)
      • Create electronic newsletter, write press releases, take photos and videos at events
    • Take photos and create videos for use in internal and external communications
    • Manage sponsor program
  • Membership Committee
    • Recruit, acknowledge, and welcome new members
    • Formulate strategies for member recruitment and retention
    • Encourage existing members to renew their memberships annually
    • Assist members in finding meaningful ways to engage with and support Impact 100 RC
  • Education and Events Committee
    • Keep membership informed and involved, and build internal networks
      • Plan and implement annual Membership grant decision meeting
      • Plan and implement member education sessions
      • Plan and implement periodic social/networking events
    • Provide pre and post-event support including site recommendations, logistical and budget support, planning strategies, meeting materials, invitations, and signage.

IMPACT GRANT

How are grant awards decided?
  • Proposals submitted by nominated nonprofits are reviewed by our Impact Grant Committee. Nonprofit’s comprehensive review will include a site visit if the nonprofit is a semi-finalist under consideration.
  • The Impact Grant Committee selects three finalists for the full membership vote
  • The three finalists present their proposals at the annual membership meeting
  • The full membership votes for the $100,000 Impact Award recipient at the annual membership meeting
  • We launched our first grant cycle in November 2015.  Current award cycles begin in January of each year.
  • If more than 100 women join Impact 100 RC each year, all monies over the $100,000 for the Impact Grant will be applied to the Community Grant Program.
Who serves on the Grant Committee?
  • Any paying member of Impact 100 RC may serve on the Grant Committee
    • Please note that, because of the popularity of the grant committee, “Circles within the Circle” may send no more than one representative to this committee.
  • It is very important that there be broad membership representation on the Grant Committee, due to its primary role in the selection process. Therefore it is our goal to have 10-20 members serving on this committee.
  •  If you are interested in serving on this committee check with the Leadership Board for any openings.
What types of organizations are eligible to be nominated for a grant?
  • Tax exempt under IRS code section 501(c)(3) and registered with the Registry of Charitable Trusts, State of California Department of Justice
  • Non-discriminatory on the basis of race, gender, sexual identification or orientation, national origin, or immigration status
  • Operating within the following charitable sectors:
    • Arts and culture
    • Environment
    • Health, education and social services
  • Organizations operating within the following sectors are ineligible:
    • Religious or faith based
    • International affairs
    • Legislation and Public policy and/or lobbying
  • Individuals are ineligible to apply for grants.
What can the grants be used for and what can’t they be used for?
  • Can: Existing programs, expansion of programs, launching new programs, or capital campaigns if specific to program under consideration for grant.
  • Can’t: General operating funds, retirement of debt, individuals, fund drives, or advertising
What about members who might have a conflict of interest because they are employed by, volunteer for, or support a grant applicant?
  • Most Impact 100 members are active in our community and thus many have “favorite” charities. However, Impact 100 is based on one member, one vote, so voting for a favorite is not considered a conflict.
  • Members who serve on the Grant Committee are in a position to influence the selection of the three finalists. Thus, Grant Committee members who are, or have a family member, employed by a grant applicant, are a board member, and/or who actively volunteer with a grant applicant, must remove themselves from discussion and decision-making regarding that non-profit.

EDUCATION and EVENTS

If I want to help with an event or activity but do not have time to join a committee, may I get involved that way?

Contact a committee chair and let her know of your availability. There are always tasks at an event that need to be done and we would welcome your support.

If I have an idea for an educational program or event, how do I make that known?

Contact a committee chair and suggest your ideas. They will be presented to the Education and Events Committee for discussion. We welcome all new ideas.

If I want to know something about Impact 100RC, how do I make my interest known?

We want to make Impact 100RC as transparent as possible. Please contact any member of the Leadership Board with your questions.