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[Going far, going together.]

One person can’t do everything. But each person can do something. Together, the potential is unlimited.

It began where it always does – a simple idea, a breath of fresh air. The People magazine article read, “Charity Belle Colleen Willoughby Helps Women Give Money Away.” The article went on to describe one woman’s success in establishing a women’s foundation to benefit the community of Seattle, Washington. Inspired by the story, Charlotte residents Claire Tate and Mary Lou Babb spent the next few years considering how to best form a women’s foundation in their own community and rallying others to determine interest in a collective giving network. At the official kickoff luncheon in Charlotte in 2003, the newly formed Women’s Impact Fund celebrated its first members – all 158 of them.

Claire Tate and Mary Lou Babb Founders of the Women’s Impact Fund

Women coming together to give money away. It was – and is – a simple idea offering a fresh perspective: a collective giving network where individual resources are pooled to expand women’s philanthropy and strengthen Mecklenburg County. Embraced with phenomenal response from the onset, the Women’s Impact Fund has grown. In its first decade, membership grew to over 400 women, awarding more than $3 million in grants to worthy nonprofits. The idea today is just as simple: We’d like you to join in.

Going far, going together. An African proverb states it well. “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” A single contribution made from the heart is a wonderful thing. But by pooling the contributions of many women, we can maximize the impact – and go far together. The Women’s Impact Fund represents a powerful voice in philanthropy today: collective giving. When women unite, incredible things happen. Our organization has become a shining example around the country of what is possible in local communities when impassioned women are united in philanthropic efforts for their community. Deeply engaged in learning about the critical needs in Charlotte Mecklenburg, we’re just as enthusiastic about addressing them and enriching the lives of the people that live here. It’s what we mean by – Together, We Do.

“I think the Women’s Impact Fund is an efficient way to see my dollars go far in community impact; a lot of bang for the buck, if you will, due to the process the organization goes through in making decisions on what issues and organizations to support.”

[Human Services]

A hands-on, hands-in grants process. The Women’s Impact Fund provides significant resources to help address emerging issues and meet the critical needs of community organizations in Charlotte Mecklenburg in five defined areas of focus:

• Arts and Culture • Health

• Education • Human Services

• Environment

Our Grants Committee, a hands-on committee comprised of more than 50 members, researches, identifies and analyzes information on organizations of interest which meet critical needs. The Grants Committee then selects up to 20 organizations to receive a formal Request For Proposal and conducts thorough, on-site visits. Ten proposals are then placed on a ballot that is sent to the entire membership. After the all hands-in vote of the entire membership, one organization representing each of our five areas of focus receive grant awards in May.

[Arts and Culture]

Members are empowered by our thorough and extensive grants process that enables us to connect and see the human faces that our gifts will affect. Our members also appreciate and respect the voting process, ensuring collective agreement for our collective giving. Through collaboration and commitment of the women of our membership, their efforts and their resources, we celebrate the bond we share and the impact we make in the lives of others throughout our community.

“The Women’s Impact Fund has been the best experience I’ve ever had. I feel like I’ve gained some great new skills that might take me in an entirely new direction. I’m ready to apply some of my new skills to a new career – thanks Women’s Impact Fund!”


Together, you can too. The invitation for membership is open and inclusive. With no restrictions on age, professional status, religious affiliation, political views, race, lifestyle, where you live or volunteer time requirements, the group is diverse and eclectic. Any woman who wishes to join this dynamic group can. Members make an annual contribution to fund the grants pool. A small portion of your contribution is used to offset educational and other program expenses. Through the power of our collective giving, your commitment becomes exponentially greater in our grants pool. The organization offers members a range of opportunities and events to learn more about community issues and critical needs within our five funding areas. While we welcome the hands-on involvement of our members, no meetings are mandatory; there are no time or service requirements for membership. Membership offers: • Inclusiveness, welcoming all women who wish to join • A greater level of community impact by drawing on collective resources, collective decision-making and opportunities for direct involvement • Inclusion in a collective of educated philanthropists  who understand community needs and are experienced grant makers • The opportunity to build relationships among women,  united in their interest in improving our community • Collaboration with organizations to strengthen our community, enrich lives and make a greater impact Whatever the reason you have to join, you will find that our organization provides a unique opportunity to address community needs, give back, get informed, be involved, make new friends – and make an impact.

“It’s an honor to be a part of such a tremendous group of women who work so hard to make sure we are meeting the needs of the community in an impactful way. I wish I had become a member sooner!”



Our community needs the lift we provide. There is little doubt that the challenges of a changing community have put a greater strain on nonprofit organizations. With the ever-growing need for services, their ability to support and enrich the lives of our friends, families, neighbors and citizens is more critical than ever. They need the lift your contribution can provide. And they would benefit greatly from the significant resources our collective contribution would make. One person can’t do everything. But each person can do something. Together, the potential is unlimited.

Together, We Do.

And we invite you to do with us.

“Joining the Women’s Impact Fund is the best thing I’ve ever done. I know my charitable contributions are leveraged to impact the community in a much greater way than if I gave my same donation to other organizations.”

Would you like to learn more? We’d love the opportunity to share our story, our mission and our needs with you. Please visit our website or contact us for more information.

220 North Tryon Street • Charlotte, NC 28202 • P: [704] 707-4292 • F: [704] 707-4284 •

220 North Tryon Street • Charlotte, NC 28202 • P: [704] 707-4292 • F: [704] 707-4284 •

Women's Impact Fund Brochure  

2012-13 Revision

Women's Impact Fund Brochure  

2012-13 Revision