IN 2001, Wendy Steele of Cincinnati, Ohio, struggled with her growing frustration that women were not participating in philanthropy as much as she knew they could. She understood the mutual benefits to women participating in philanthropy and its impact in their own communities. This led to the concept of Impact 100, which she founded in 2001. Today, Impact 100 has engaged more than 5,600 women to give more than $29 million to around 250 nonprofits in 22 regions and is spreading globally.In 2015, Impact 100 arrived on the Jersey Coast.“Impact 100 Jersey Coast offers local women a unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on approach to giving. By collectively pooling our resources, we can make a significant impact in a way we could not have otherwise as separate individuals,” said Deirdre O’Brien Spiropoulos, cofounder and president of the Jersey Coast Chapter. “Our aim is provide a forum to raise awareness of worthy nonprofit initiatives in our community while inspiring our members to become personally involved with these charities, if they so choose.”The concept is simple. Any woman is eligible to become a member. Each member contributes $1,000 annually, which is fully tax-deductible.One hundred percent of every membership dollar goes directly to fund grants.“Our membership goal at the moment is 100 women, which would mean a grant of $100,000 to an eligible nonprofit organization,” said Heather Burke, co-founder and vice president of Impact 100 Jersey Coast. “But, it’s not limited to 100 women.” In Pensacola, Florida, Pensacola Impact just broke a worldwide record of 1,060 members. This means that ten grants of $100,000 each will be distributed to local nonprofit organizations in Pensacola in one year. “That’s ‘Impact’,” said Burke.“We live in one of the most affluent areas in the U.S. yet within five to ten miles of our homes, there are children who go to bed hungry every night, who struggle to read; countless people undergoing cancer treatments who don’t have transportation – and a multitude of other needs requiring direct attention,” said Spiropoulos. “Impact 100 Jersey Coast offers a powerful opportunity to raise awareness of our community’s most pressing needs and to advance the most innovative models developed by nonprofits to meet those needs. We want to encourage local nonprofits to dream bigger than they ever imagined.”“As our membership grows, we will be able to make additional grants, the amounts of which will be driven by our membership donations. Although we will begin with a focus on Monmouth County, our goal is to broaden our network of nonprofits over time to encompass the entire Jersey Coast region, including Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties,” added Burke.The process is simple as well. Each contributing member has the option to pay $1,100 where $100 is allocated to support operational expenses. Membership is renewed annually. Each member has one vote and all members are encouraged, but not required, to participate in the grant review and award process.Currently the organization is under taking a membership drive and holding informal gatherings. In April 2016, a public announcement will be made outlining the grant application process and amount of grant to be awarded. In September 2016, three to five grant finalists will be announced, across the focus areas. In November 2016, Impact 100 Jersey Coast will hold an Annual Membership Meeting allowing the finalists to present and all members to cast a vote. Winners will be announced that evening.Impact 100 Jersey Coast welcomes new members. For more information, visit impact100jerseycoast.org.