President Beth Thomas on Why She Joined Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis

2016 Beth Thomas headshot

As the President for Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis, and after spending two years as the Membership Chair, I have spent a lot of time working on ways to attract new members. I’ve thought about how I came to know Impact 100 after an organization I supported, Indy Reads, received a grant in 2007. The grant came just as I was rolling off the Indy Reads board, and I was wondering what my next nonprofit experience would be. I’d never heard of Impact 100, but knew the $102,500 grant to Indy Reads would make a huge and long-term impact, and the idea of being a part of an organization that could do such a thing really intrigued me. I did some research and discovered what Impact calls “The Power of Women Giving as One.”

There were several aspects about Impact 100 that appealed to me:

  • 100% of membership contributions go into the grants; a member can give additional contributions to cover administrative costs, but the membership contribution of $1000 all goes to the grants.
  • There are only two membership requirements: you must be a woman over 21, and you must donate $1000 (or join with one to three other women for a Shared Membership).
  • A member can choose to be as involved as she wants. She has the option to serve on a committee evaluating grant applications, to serve on the board, or to do nothing except make her donation.
  • There are no required meetings, and, although we want as many members as possible to join us, members aren’t required to attend the socials, events, or even the annual meeting.

So I decided to join in 2008, and have rejoined every year since. It has been impressive to watch Impact 100 become one of the largest grant-giving organizations in Indiana, having awarded over $1.75 million to 45 not-for-profit organizations based in the Indianapolis area since the first grant in 2006, including:

  • The IMPACT Program created by a partnership between Ascent 121 and Lutheran Child and Family Services. Working together, they provide advocacy and recovery services for teen survirors of trafficking and exploitation.
  • Indy Urban Acres, a program of the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, to support their income-generating flower farm, which in turn supports their farms providing fresh vegetables and fruits to the 80,000 people annually who rely on food pantries to feed their families.
  • Social Health Association to fund a new bullying prevention program, Step Up for Kindness (TM), that reached 31,800 students its first year.
  • Tindley Collegiate Academy to equip the all-girls middle school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lab.
  • Jameson Camp to help double the number of children who normally would not have the ability to attend camp.
  • Outside the Box to expand their services and improve their facilities for adults with developmental disabilities.
  • Rock Steady Boxing to expand facilities, including a real boxing ring for boxing workouts, for people with Parkinson’s.
  • Outreach to expand job skills training, mentoring and post-secondary education programs for homeless youth.
  • Herron High School for art equipment and portable staging and sound equipment.
  • Horizon House to improve their facilities and the intake process for their homeless clients.
  • A Craine House/Fairbanks partnership for a pilot program addressing the root causes of substance abuse for women and their preschool children.
  • Wishard (now Eskenazi Health) to add a full-service pharmacy to The Pecar Health Center.

As you’re thinking about Impact 100 membership, please look through our website, review our FAQs, and put together your own list of the aspects of Impact 100 that appeal to you. Hopefully you’ll make the same decision I did and join us.

By the way, Impact 100 doesn’t just award grants. This is a group of women who also likes to get together to socialize and exchange ideas. We have several social events on our calendar at any given time… just check the right column of our website for a list of upcoming events, or send us an email to

Even if you decide not to join, you can help by telling others about Impact 100. Feel free to share this blog post with family, friends and associates. And don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions or comments.


Beth Thomas

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