How Impact 100 Came to Be

Hello! Our name is Impact 100 Southern Indiana and we are excited to introduce ourselves. A proper introduction if you will, for both the new faces and our familiar faces.

We wanted to share a bit about the global story of Impact100, and how the Southern Indiana chapter came to be.

Impact 100:

How and Why Impact 100 was Founded in Cincinnati

Wendy Steele – a woman who is equal parts amazing and inspiring (#girlpower) - founded Impact 100 in 2001 in a city not too far up the road from us, Cincinnati. Wendy says the idea of Impact 100 was born as a “response to feeling as though women’s roles in philanthropy needed a new way to be expanded and encouraged.”

Fun fact: Wendy spoke at our inaugural awards event in September 2017, and we had multiple phone conversations with her while launching our chapter.

Wendy launched Impact 100 with the “goal of empowering women to see themselves as activists through utilizing large grants to make an impact within their communities.”

The first ever Impact 100 grant was awarded in Cincinnati in 2002 with a total of $123,000. Today, Impact 100 chapters across the US combined have donated over $80 million to worthy local causes. 

Fact: Impact 100 Pensacola awarded $1,166,000, a total of 11 grants, in 2019. This was comprised of 1,166 members!

If that doesn’t grab your attention, I am not sure what will.

Southern Indiana:

How and Why the Women’s Foundation of Southern Indiana transformed into Impact 100 Southern Indiana.

What was happening with Impact 100 organizations around the country certainly grabbed the attention of a group of women which became the first board for Impact 100 Southern Indiana. At the time, the group served as the advisory board for the Women’s Foundation of Southern Indiana (WFSI), which is a fund of the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana. Hazel Bales founded the WFSI back in 2007. While the women of WFSI had made an impact in the lives of women and children in our community, we knew to truly honor the vision of Hazel, we had to think bigger. We also knew there were elements of our fundraising approach that were not sustainable. It was time for change!

Fact: Impact 100 Southern Indiana’s Hazel membership is in honor of Hazel Bales.

In May 2016, the WFSI began the transition to become Impact 100 Southern Indiana. After multiple planning meetings among a room full of ladies with true passion to do more for our community, – Impact 100 Southern Indiana officially launched in February 2017!

Only seven short months later, we awarded the first Impact 100 Southern Indiana grant of $50,000 to St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities. We couldn’t have felt more empowered, more inspired, or more humbled from all the support.

Fact: WOMEN in Southern Indiana have set out to make a difference in OUR community. More than 200 women have joined us since 2017. Click here to join us in 2020!

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Impact 100 Southern Indiana…all thanks to you.

Thanks for reading. It was sure nice talking with you and we hope to see you around again soon.


4108 Charlestown Road

New Albany, IN 47150


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