Impact100 Essex Inaugural Grant Review is Underway!

Impact100 Essex is pleased to announce 66 completed applications for our inaugural grant. Non-profits operating throughout Essex County, providing a a broad range of services from the arts to services for families and children, the elderly, environmental projects, job training programs, education and youth empowerment, have submitted proposals for transformative programs to serve their communities. The organizations have been operating from three to over 150 years.

The Impact100 Grants Committee is now beginning its process of evaluating the applications. Members of the committee attended orientation sessions, and four sub-committees will now review and discuss the applications. Each sub-group will recommend two or three organizations to move on to the next phase, which will include a full financial review and site visits. The four finalists will be announced on March 1st with a press event. Finalists will present their projects at the Impact100 Essex annual meeting on March 26, and the full membership will vote to choose the recipient. Inquiries:

Essex women pool resources to make an 'Impact'

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Essex women pool resources to make an 'Impact'
Mollie Shauger , Staff Writer, @MollieShauger 3:49 p.m. ET June 16, 2017
(Photo: Photo courtesy of Selma Avdicevic)

Women across Essex County are joining forces to support organizations making a difference in their communities.
Impact100 Essex is an all-volunteer philanthropic organization that is part of a broader organization with 40 chapters, most of which are in the U.S. Two are based in Australia.
Members pledge to give $1,000 a year, which goes toward a $100,000 grant to a local nonprofit or program.
To achieve that mission, the Essex chapter, which just formed in March, is working toward a goal of at least 100 members by June 30. On Thursday, the chapter was just 15 members - and 15 days - short of that target.
Montclair residents Selma Avdicevic and Lee Heh Margolies, two members of the steering committee for the Essex group, were surprised but excited by how quickly interest in the organization has grown.
Members are recruited largely through personal connections, the duo explained. Different women host meet-and-greets, inviting friends and friends of friends to learn about the organization. Members decide how much they want to become involved in the organization.
The women live in towns throughout Essex County, though a large number come from come from Montclair, noted Avdicevic. Ages and generations differ, as do the professions. There are retired women, women on their third careers, and those who work in fields such as media, government, law, and investment banking. Many are mothers and activists within their own communities.
Avdicevic and Margolies have been involved from the start. They spoke of the collective energy of a diverse group of women wanting to do something positive in their communities.
The Essex chapter came to be not long after two major political milestones that seemed to have a ripple effect across the nation.
"After the election and inauguration ... we all felt we should do something for the community that is good, something that will cause an immediate and positive impact in a community, that is in no way related to any of the news we are hearing," said Avdicevic, emphasizing that Impact100 Essex is nonpartisan.
"After the Women’s March, we women in general really saw the power of being with other women and doing something positive and effective, and meaningful and powerful," observed Margolies. "I think the genesis is just women being the drivers of philanthropy, and women making an impact in a meaningful way," she said.
Members do not have to live in Essex County to join. However, the grant will go to an Essex County organization.
Potential recipients apply for the grant, and after what the organization calls "a careful review process and presentations by finalists," members vote on the awardee.
There are two other New Jersey chapters: Impact100 Garden State and Impact100 Jersey Coast. Together they have distributed more than $900,000 in grants to charities serving veterans, or those feeding families and aiding domestic violence victims, according to Impact100 Essex. Across the U.S., more than $33 million has been raised since 2001.
"Essex County is home to hundreds of nonprofits who long to strengthen or expand their mission. A nonprofit applying for a $100,000 grant must propose a program that is both transformative and sustainable," stated Helen Mazarakis, grant committee chair for the Essex group.
The idea right now for the Essex branch is to issue a grant once a year, but depending on the membership and money raised, the organization could give more, according to Avdicevic and Margolies.
Margolies described Impact100's model of giving as "more personal."
As often happens with larger charities, "you kind of write the check and you don’t really know where that’s going, and you don’t know how it’s funding that group," she said. "This we will see directly, and it’s right in our backyard."
"There is really no lack of philanthropic efforts or organizations in Essex County," Avdicevic acknowledged. "People have always been extremely generous, especially in Montclair, from what I can see in my experience."
In a statement, Margo Greenfield, organizer of Impact100 Essex, said Impact100 offers a "hands-on approach to giving." "Collectively pooling our resources, we can make a significant impact in a way we could not have otherwise as separate individuals," Greenfield said. The Community Foundation of New Jersey, a nonprofit organization, provides technical and administrative support to Impact100 Essex. For more information or to join, visit ( Email: Read or Share this story:

Almost There!

Almost there!

We are 15 days away from our membership deadline, and 15 members away from our target of 100 members. Are you one of them?

REMINDER: Your pledges are due NOW! Please send them in, or use our website to pay online. We can't start the work of impacting our communities until all the pledges are received.

Why Impact100 Essex?

Here are some exaples of what other Impact100 groups have done:
Impact100 Garden State 2016: Doubling the capacity of an outreach program for aged-out foster youth.
Impact100 Jersey Coast 2017: Supporting a Family Justice Center model to provide enhanced coordinated services for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Impact 100 Chicago 2016: funding a Medical Case Manager and updates in services, allowing RefugeeOne to better serve refugee adults and children suffering from complex health conditions.
Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis 2016: funding a new IMPACT Program to Curb Runaway and Human Trafficking of Young Girls, (a collaboration between Ascent 121 and Lutheran Child & Family Services): hiring of additional therapists; re-decoration of housing facilities and funding the Human Trafficking Awareness Summit, bringing together thought leaders and experts to offer keynote addresses and workshops to better understand the issue.

What's coming up?

Come to one the following information sessions. And bring a friend.

Wednesday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunset on the Terrace
Home of Ellen Greenfield
Apt 21C
377 South Harrison Street
East Orange, NJ
Please park across the Street on Elmwood

Thursday, June 22 at 8:30 a.m.
Coffee and Conversation
Home of Lyn Rosensweig
14 Elm Court Way
Llewelyn Park
West Orange, NJ


Want to help?

Start here.
Become a member,
and add $100 for administrative costs.
If you already pledged your support, send in your payment.
Plan our celebration party!
To get involved, please email

What will be YOUR impact?

Half way there.

Since the last time you heard from the Steering Committee, we have:

Set ourselves a June 30 deadline to reach 100 members. We are very much on track to get there, with 56 members as of today.

Scheduled six events in the next 4 weeks, where prospective members can meet current members, and learn about Impact100.

Our current geographical reach encompasses East Orange, Essex Fells, Little Falls, Maplewood, Millburn, Montclair, Nutley, Short Hills, South Orange, Verona, West Caldwell, and West Orange.

Our website is constantly being updated. You can check it out here.

Our Grantmaking Committee is reviewing application models, eligibility guidelines, and procedures.

What's coming up?

Please join us for the following informational sessions. And bring a friend.

Wednesday, May 24
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Home of Cathy Rowe

Friday, June 9
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Home of Selma Avdicevic
Saturday, June 10
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Home of Lee Heh Margolies

Tuesday, June 13
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Home of Ellen Greenfield
East Orange

Want to help?

Because of our unusual format, members can elect their level of engagement, but the effectiveness and strength of the organization will be based on your experience and commitment. Right now, depending on your interest, available time, and experience, you can:

Become a member. Invite new members. Start here.

Help us design a logo.

Draft grant applications, administration practices, and governance procedures.

Plan our celebration party!

Host an event for members to meet and recruit new members.

To get involved, please email

Impact100 ESSEX – Actively Seeking Members

For Immediate Release April 10, 2017
Contact: Margarethe Laurenzi @ 973-267-5533

Impact100 ESSEX – Actively Seeking Members

East Orange, NJ.   With November’s election suggesting reduced funds for rising local needs, thirty Essex County women have joined to fund innovative programs addressing unmet needs of underserved populations in Essex County.  Adopting a national model, Impact100 Essex stirs women to identify, research and collaboratively fund local non-profits seeking to expand or deepen their programing.  Impact 100 programs across the country have raised over $33 million dollars since 2001. 

“The Impact 100 model offers local women a unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on approach to giving,” said Margo Greenfield, organizer of Impact100 Essex.  “Collectively pooling our resources, we can make a significant impact in a way we could not have otherwise as separate individuals.” 

The concept is simple. 100 women each contribute $1,000 to fund a high impact grant to a local non-profit. Members review applications and vote on the final recipient.  Every dollar is used toward the grant. Impact programs in western and coastal New Jersey raised over a million dollars in the last four years while building effective, innovative collaborations among agencies serving veterans, the food insecure and families affected by domestic violence.

“A significant grant can be an immediate, visible vehicle to make lives better, here in our own cities and towns,” said Helen Mazarakis, Grant Committee Chair.  “Essex County is home to hundreds of non-profits who long to strengthen or expand their mission.  A non-profit applying for a $100,000 grant must propose a program that is both transformative and sustainable.”

The Impact100 Steering Committee sponsors informal gatherings to explain the women’s giving circle and enlist support.  “There was a terrific turnout to our initial information session,” said Ellen Greenfield, Marketing Co-Chair.  “By our third gathering we had enlisted a multi-generational membership of thirty women from East Orange to Montclair, from Bloomfield, to Millburn.”
Additional information sessions are scheduled for April 19, 28 and May 4. 

Impact 100 Essex welcomes all who want to know more.  Impact100 Essex will complete its membership drive in June, and solicit applications and review submissions in the fall.  Members will vote on the award at the Impact100 Essex Annual Meeting in early 2018.  Details about membership in Impact 100 are available on