The Impact100 Philadelphia Founders Fellowship is back for its third year of helping women ages 25 to 35 get their feet in the philanthropic door, and it’s expanding the program in order to deepen its impact.
The collective giving nonprofit asks each of its 400-plus members to commit at least $1,150 per year to a pool that the group then disperses to local nonprofits according to a vote. At the organization’s eighth annual meeting in June, its members voted to donate a collective $380,000 to five local nonprofits. Since the branch’s founding in 2008, it has contributed over $2 million to worthy causes.
That’s a lot of impact. That’s also a hefty membership price, though, young women who are just getting started in their careers and likely have a few thousand in student loans. It can also be difficult for those without an existing philanthropic network to know how to get involved in the first place.
"The key to our long-term sustainability is growing the membership."
That’s where the Founders Fellowship comes in. Fellows benefit by learning the ins and outs of collective giving — mentorship included — without having to pay the annual membership fee, and Impact100 benefits by hearing the perspectives of younger people when considering which organizations to donate to, and possibly gaining some new members, cofounder Beth Dahle explained.
“The key to our long-term sustainability is growing the membership” and expanding the group’s thought leadership, she said.
Several fellows have taken their experience in the program with them to board service and other roles in the nonprofit world. But the fellowship could also be treated as an in-road to Impact100 membership itself. After the program’s successful first year in 2014, Impact100 decided to invite four fellows to extend their fellowships “with a fractional membership payment,” according to Founders Fellowship co-chair and Impact100 board member Lisa Solinsky.
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“We hoped to accomplish two things,” Solinsky wrote us. “1. To give our fellows more time to deeply engage with our organization and take additional leadership roles and 2. to keep these talented young women as a part of our organization.”
It worked: Two fellows stayed on for a second year, and one is staying on for a third via Impact100’s new “path to membership” program which invites some fellows to “return with increasing fractional payments for four years (with a full membership payment in the fifth year),” Solinsky said.
Applications are due July 31.-30-
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