Our History

Our Inspiration:

It all began with a simple phone call. Our co-founder, Marybeth Lernihan had just returned from visiting a friend in Cincinnati, Ohio, who was President of an organization called Impact 100. Marybeth was intrigued with the simple, effective concept of this all-volunteer women’s organization that collectively pooled its member’s $1,000 contributions to fund high-impact $100,000 grants to local non-profits. Even more intriguing was the women’s intimate involvement in the decision making; working together to determine which worthy organization they would support; building connections to their community and each other in the process. Marybeth immediately called her two friends, Nonie Brown and Michele Polvere, and ran the idea past them. They both loved the idea and in 2010, Impact 100 Chicago was born. We are one of at least 48 independent organizations around the world who have modeled the concept of Impact 100, which was started in Cincinnati in 2001.

The Chapter Model:

Because Chicago covers a large geographic area, Impact 100 Chicago planned, from the beginning, to create local chapters to allow members to participate on committees that are close to where they live and work. Our dream of creating chapters became a reality under the leadership of Allison Bacon and Georgy Ann Peluchiwski, who started the City Chapter in 2012.

Similar to the inspiration provided by Impact 100 in Cincinnati, Allison was inspired by her experience as a member of Impact Austin (Texas), her hometown. She quickly shared her excitement about this model of giving during walks with long-time friend Georgy Ann, and thus began their interest in bringing the concept to their city community. The leadership of Impact 100 Chicago readily welcomed Allison and Georgy Ann and in 2012 the City Chapter was launched.

Impact 100 Chicago Today:

Presently, we operate two chapters, a City Chapter and a Suburban Chapter. In 2010, our organization started with its first 126 members, and are proud to announce that in 2015, our fifth year, we grew to a combined membership of 600 women from all over the Chicagoland area. In 2016,  Impact 100 Chicago awarded six $100,000 Impact Grants and as of June of 2016, we have awarded over $2 million dollars to local non-profits.
2016 Chart