Impact100 Sonoma Hosts Nonprofits at October Workshop


Community Grants Chair, Diana Sanson, shares information with attendees.

Community Grants Chair, Diana Sanson, shares information with attendees.

October 15, 2015

On a warm Indian summer day, representatives of local nonprofit organizations and members of Impact100 Sonoma attended a workshop about the Impact100 grant application process for 2016.  Grace Meeks (Impact Grant Chair) and Diana Sanson (Community Grants Chair) welcomed the attendees and gave a shout-out to Impact100 members who volunteer with local nonprofits.

While the primary purpose of the workshop was to explain the 2016 grant application process and answer questions about it, Diana and Grace began with some general information and FAQs about Impact100 Sonoma itself – such as the difference between public charity foundations and giving circles such as Impact100.  Foundations typically offer a single point of contact who ultimately presents grant applications to the foundation decision-makers (foundation board members or a committee designated by the board).  In contrast, Impact100 Sonoma is a “democratic institution” – i.e., one woman, one vote.  The grant committees (through the committee chairs) interact with grant applicants as the process goes forward and ultimately present the finalists to the Impact100 membership.  Then the full membership votes at the annual meeting and decides which proposals are funded – the grant committees, and the Impact100 Board, do not have that authority.

Diana and Grace explained that in 2015, at its five-year mark, Impact100 sought input on ways to improve our grant-making process, including a confidential survey of local nonprofits and a survey of the Impact100 membership.  While the Impact100 Board continues to review the results, some changes have already been made for the 2016 grant process.  Grace and Diana went on to describe what’s new and what’s been simplified and to clarify some current policies:

  • There is no Letter of Intent (LOI) requirement for Community Grants, only a full proposal.
  • Community Grants have only two categories – Capital and Programs.
  • Impact will continue to fund existing, expanded, and new programs, and technology can be included if it is integral to the program.
  • The LOI remains for Impact Grant applications, but has been streamlined.
  • Community Grant and Impact Grant finalist funds will be distributed in full immediately after the grant agreement is completed.
  • Two-year funding (if desired) continues to be offered for Impact Grants.
  • Reporting for all grants is on a semi-annual basis.
  • Receipts of expenditures are no longer required from grantees; instead grantees will submit a proposed budget including allocation of Impact100 funds, and their reports will list how those funds were spent.
  • Nonprofits that are not headquartered or do not have an office in Sonoma Valley can qualify for a grant if they otherwise meet Impact’s eligibility requirements and provide services to benefit residents of Sonoma Valley.

More details can be found at:

Application forms:

  • An online Organization Information Form replaces prior cover sheets.
  • There is no Letter of Intent (LOI) for Community Grant Applicants. The Impact Grant LOI is short; information submitted on the LOI will not be duplicated in the full proposal.
  • For both Impact and Community Grants there is a new, short form to be filled out by any collaborators (organizations providing services for the applicant’s program and who will be receiving grant funds) and partners (any other organizations identified as helpers in an application, but who will not receive grant funds). This is to ensure that collaborators and partners are aware of their status as such during the application process.
  • Collaborators are not eligible to apply for another Impact Grant in the same year, but partners can do so. Both can apply separately for Community Grants in the same year.
  • Impact Grant applications should provide three years of financial statements even if they are not in final or audited form; Community Grants should provide one year of financial statements. Startup applicants may be sponsored by an organization that does meet these requirements.

The application forms, and other details on how to apply, can be found at:

Information on application due dates was provided and can be found on the website at:

Finally, there was a spirited question and answer session, after which attendees were thanked and asked to fill out evaluation forms to help Impact100 continue to improve its meetings and processes.

To download a copy of the powerpoint presentation from this meeting, click HERE.

A second workshop will be offered on November 12 at 3:00 pm at Vintage House, at which Deborah Levy, MSW of Executive Services and Nonprofit Consulting, will address how to recruit, manage, and retain board members.  There will also be a workshop on the nuts and bolts of grant applications on December 4, 2015; interested nonprofits are invited to attend.


Text and photo provided by Impact100 Sonoma member, Judith Walsh