YVCF’s IMPACT100 grant program kicks off funding year with nominating party

Since 2006, IMPACT100 has awarded $194,800 to 53 organizations in the Yampa Valley.

Open Heart Advocates Executive Director Meghan Francone was thrilled last year when her organization earned a grant from IMPACT100, a collective giving program of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. But she said the $12,750 award was about a lot more than money.

“It allowed recognition and acknowledgement for my team,” Francone said. “My team was able to feel seen, and the work that they do in those dark spaces and in those dark hours was validated and honored. So beyond the amazing financial support that we received from IMPACT100, it also validated my staff as a whole. That was huge for me to see as the executive director.”

IMPACT100 aims to get at least 100 donors to each give $100 to become an IMPACT100 member. The YVCF program features three events beginning with this year’s nomination party on March 9 to kick off the fund’s 17th year.

YVCF’s Donor Engagement Manager Traci Hiatt said every IMPACT100 donation matters, and that every donation helps improve the community.

“There’s three goals,” Hiatt said of the IMPACT100. “One is to create an opportunity for people to give back to their community that doesn’t require a huge financial commitment, second is to create an opportunity where community members can learn about the nonprofits doing work in our communities and then the third is to create this pool of money that is granted out.”

Hiatt invites anyone interested in becoming an IMPACT100 member to call the foundation for an invitation to the nominating party. The event, which takes place from 6-8 p.m. March 9 at Howeslen Hill, is free and includes dinner, drinks and the opportunity for those who join to nominate 10 nonprofits from Routt and Moffat counties that will become semifinalists. She added that those interested can also join the effort at the YVCF website.

Hiatt said thanks to event sponsors that pay all expenses for food, drinks and venues, 100% of each member’s tax-deductible donation goes directly to support the community.

The next IMPACT100 event will come this summer, most likely in June. The group will get together for a presentation where members will hear from the semifinalists that were nominated to learn about their mission and programs, and how IMPACT100 funding could help them in their work. At the end of the night, members will vote to determine three finalists.

Those three nonprofits will be invited to an awards event in the fall, most likely September. The finalists will give a longer presentation about how their organizations would benefit from IMPACT100 funding. After the presentations, members will then vote to determine how the funds will be allocated.

Last year, IMPACT100 awarded $16,250 to three local nonprofit organizations including Open Hearts Advocates, which received a $12,750 grant award.

Open Heart Advocates provides services for domestic violence and sex assault victims, provides a shelter, and helps any victim of a person-to-person crime. The organization also provides health and safety advocates for individuals who are struggling but may not be victims, and need behavioral health support.

“We provide quality, compassionate, nonjudgmental services in a manner that fosters self-respect, dignity and independence in humans who have experienced crime, violence and trauma,” Francone said. “We hope to be leading the struggle to create community healing and safety through advocacy and education.”

She said the grant that Open Heart Advocacy received last year helped support several efforts.

“We supported survivors of human trafficking — specifically to find stability and safety. It allowed for 24/7 advocacy and support, and allowed for three different families to have emergency housing support for several months after experiencing domestic violence,” Francone said. “It supported our survivors summer support group sessions where seven families received weekly activities, healthy living skills and education on topics driven by those clients themselves.”

First Impressions of Routt County and Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition also earned grants of $1,750 each. Since 2006, IMPACT100 has awarded $194,800 to 53 organizations in the Yampa Valley.

“Another goal is to get our general community and especially younger professionals in our community involved in philanthropy and involved in nonprofits,” Hiatt said. “Many times IMPACT100 members will go on to serve on nonprofit boards or work for nonprofits.

“They become educated about the needs that are in our community through this program, and the organizations that are working to support those needs. They are also compelled to get more involved, so that’s really the biggest goal is to spur community engagement, activity and giving back.”

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