Written by founding member and past president, Lori Lewis.
Volunteers of Impact100 Southern Indiana have two distinct roles. In the first part of the year, we network with our community to raise funds. But, the critical work starts in July when the process of gathering and reviewing applications begins.
Now in our fifth year of seeking and awarding grants, we have a solid foundation of non-profits. We work with organizations to explain the grant application process and answer any questions. Last year we introduced virtual Q & A sessions, a practice that continues. We’re always amazed by the broad range of services offered by organizations that serve Clark, Floyd, and Harrison counties.
For these agencies, our grant application is a two-step process. The first step is simple, each applicant submits a letter of intent through our online form. In the Letter of Intent, the nonprofits not only indicate their intent to apply but also acknowledge that they meet all the eligibility requirements. These include:
Being a 501(c)3 in operation for at least two years in Clark, Floyd, and/or Harrison counties.
The non-profit has an identified program or project that falls within one of our focus areas.
Acknowledgment of the other grant requirements (listed on the website).
Once the letter of intent deadline passes, the call then goes out to our current members for volunteers to help review the applications. This is a key step as the entire process would not be possible without our wonderful members and volunteers. It takes a village!
Once the full grant applications are submitted, a small group of members receives 5-8 grants each to review. These volunteers who review grant applications take the role very seriously. Many have volunteered in this capacity since our inception. As mentioned above, each volunteer is an Impact 100 Southern Indiana member. Volunteers go through an extensive training process and always have access to one of our board members if she has any questions. These women devote approximately 30 hours of their time to reviewing and discussing applications.
The volunteers first score each application based on the scoring system in the grant application. Each member reviews/scores the application individually. Then, at the end of the review week, our members come back together in their small groups to compare notes and scores on the grant applications reviewed.. This discussion is very intentional and allows the reviewer to adjust a score if they overlooked or misunderstood information. At the end of the discussions, scores are averaged from the group and turned in. The top three or four nonprofits become our finalists!
We are also VERY focused on the integrity of the process as we know our members trust us. We monitor confidentiality, conflicts of interest, objective scoring, and triple-check all scores before announcing our finalists. It can be a bit overwhelming, but we know it’s worth it! I feel it’s truly a privilege to be part of this amazing process.
As the grant finalists present their grant requests at our Annual Award Celebration dinner, We’re always proud of the reviewers who worked so hard, the nonprofits who took the time to apply, and our amazing members who made it all possible. Together, we’re all making an Impact!