Frequently Asked Questions
Impact 100 Chicago has many applicants that are faith-based or out-growths from religious institutions. In order to be eligible for our grant, their projects or programs must be open to all, including volunteers, regardless of religion; and their overall mission must not be to draw participants to one faith. Inherently religious activities within the organization would need to be separate, in time or location, from programming funded by Impact 100 Chicago.
Impact 100 Chicago will not fund a program or project which restricts participation because of religion (i.e: participation in the program or use of the facility requires that you profess a certain faith), and/or is principally guided by or requires religious activities (i.e. the program or project is designed for the purposes of engaging or bringing others into a religion).
In general, our members are most enthusiastic about projects or programs that are transformative to the organization and the populations they serve. We want to hear about organizations that, if empowered with our funding, would be taking a huge step forward to advance their mission and that the funding would have a dramatic effect on the lives of an underserved population.
- Take the LOI phase very seriously. While this stage seems easy because the submission is relatively short and simple, it is critical that your organization be very thoughtful about the request being made. Once you have submitted your LOI, you cannot change the scope of the request or how you plan to use the funds if you are moved forward in the process.
- The submissions that really stand out are from organizations that have a clear and thoughtful mission, fill a defined need by reaching out to underserved populations in the Chicago area, are financially healthy AND have a well-conceived project or program that needs funding.
- Our review committees carefully consider the number of people served by a project and the intensity of services proposed. We talk about the depth and duration of the impact on the target population, and whether the impact might extend beyond the scope of the project and have a ripple effect, either in the broader community or over time.
- For requests to fund programs, a clear explanation of how a program can be sustained after the Impact 100 Chicago $100,000 award is spent is important to us. We would like to know that we are jump-starting or investing in a program that has a strong probability of being funded beyond our one or two year involvement.
- We recommend that you do not try to guess what kind of project, program or focus area
Impact 100 Chicago “prefers” to fund. Each year the organizations with the most impactful grant projects inevitably rise to the top as finalists and award recipients.
If your project involves capital purchases, we will be looking at the use of funds and the impact that will be generated by the capital improvements. The property involved must be owned by the applicant or leased with a minimum five years remaining on the lease as of July 1 of the Impact Award year. Ownership or lease of said property must be in place as of the Letter of Inquiry due date. In terms of programming expenses, we understand that being properly staffed is critical to implementing any project. If staff expenses are a large part of the project budget, our primary concern may be the sustainability of the project after the grant period, and how staff salaries will be funded after our grant funds are expended.
We will not accept a project budget in a Letter of Inquiry that requests $100,000 towards general operating expenses of an organization. The use of an Impact Grant award of $100,000 is restricted in a formal grant agreement to a defined project and/or program and cannot be used for unrestricted general operating support.
If your project or program costs more than $100,000, you will be requested to define the portion of the project to be funded by the $100,000 Impact 100 Chicago grant and all other sources of funding previously obtained or applied for in order to complete the project.
Your website shows Impact 100 Chicago awarded grants for less than $100,000.
How can we win one of those grant awards?
These are “Merit Grants” and are not part of our application process. Our grant model is based on the number of members in our organization each year. For every 100 members, each having donated $1,000, we will award a $100,000 Impact Grant. The residual funds are awarded to each chapter’s remaining finalists as Merit Grants. The amounts of these grants are not determined until January and may differ from year to year as well as between chapters. Our desire is to acknowledge the achievement of these organizations in becoming finalists and the wonderful services they provide to the Chicago area. If your organization is chosen as a finalist but does not win an Impact Grant, you would receive a Merit Grant to be spent at your organization’s discretion.
Letters of Inquiry are submitted online through our website. See the Apply for a Grant section for all of the eligibility requirements, focus areas, schedules, deadlines and process information, including the dates when our online management application system is open for applications. On the Grant Process and Schedule page you will find a link to Submit a Letter of Inquiry.
Nonprofits invited to submit Full Grant Applications will be given instructions on how to submit their complete applications upon receiving their invitations.
For questions regarding Impact 100 Chicago′s guidelines or process, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org. If we have questions about your Letter of Inquiry or Full Grant Proposal, we will contact you.
Our online applicant management system also provides an extensive email support system, FAQs, and self-help guides for submission issues.