What is a Philanthropist? 

The Oxford Dictionary defines a philanthropist as “a person who seeks to promote the welfare of others- especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.”  The fifth century BC philosopher Aeschylus coined the philanthropist to mean “love of humanity.”  Today philanthropy encompasses all forms of generosity of time, talent and treasure to make life better for others.  In contrast to charity, which is most often focused on immediate relief and often driven by emotion, philanthropy focuses on longer term strategic initiatives to help people and solve problems.

As members of Impact 100, we are each philanthropists as we donate our membership dollars (treasure) to support “significant grants that have a lasting impact.”   Our $100,000 transformative grants support initiatives that are designed to “help people and solve problems” for the longer term.  We have opportunities to volunteer our time and talent at one or more of our grant recipients, and to serve on a Grant Review Team(GRT) or our Community Investment Review Committee(CIRC). We can help with communication, event support, sponsor recruitment, serve on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, Impact Board, or Finance teams (talent and time).   YOU are a philanthropist!

One of our Impact 100 core values is Educating Women to be Informed Philanthropists.  On June 27 we held our annual EDU event- in conjunction with our Meet the Finalists Announcement.  The program addressed the topic of Trust Based Philanthropy, an emerging approach to the collaborative work of funders, grant makers, and nonprofits in a community.  The topic was chosen to help us explore this approach to funding and to promote dialogue, questions, and learning only. More details about this event can be found later in this newsletter.

As a philanthropist and member of Impact 100, we have the privilege and responsibility to be a part of the decision making process to determine what we fund.  Our 7 finalists for 2023 have been selected by our Grant Review Teams (GRTs) and ratified by the Board of Directors.  I encourage each of you to participate in selecting the final grant recipients.  Over the next 6 weeks our finalists will be preparing a video presentation describing the community need they are addressing, the project or program they are initiating or expanding, and the impact this project or program will have on the lives of those they serve.  On August 29, you will receive an email communication with these 7 videos, along with a written Executive Summary of each finalist’s grant proposal.  You will have two (2) weeks to view the videos, study the Executive Summaries, and cast your vote (we use a rank order voting system called OPA VOTE).  As knowledgeable and informed members, YOU get to decide who will be our 2023 Impact 100 Grant Recipients.  It is an important responsibility and an awesome privilege to do so.  Please plan to use your voice and vote!  Recipients will be announced at our Annual Awards Celebration on September 12 at Music Hall.  More details in this newsletter.

As always, if you have ideas, questions, or comments, please contact me at president@impact100.org or any Impact 100 board member.  I am grateful for the women of Impact 100 and our commitment to working together to make a difference in our community.


Kathy Thornton

President, Impact 100