Impact 100 founder says women transforming communities

Since Wendy Steele founded Impact 100 in Cincinnati in 2001, the organization has grown to 70 chapters in the United States and Australia, and raised nearly $80 million for nonprofits.

Steele was in Owensboro on Thursday to speak at the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s Rooster Booster Breakfast at the Owensboro Convention Center.

The night before, she addressed the local chapter’s 15th-anniversary dinner at the RiverPark Center.

Steele said Owensboro had the seventh chapter in the organization and was the second to create a Next Generation chapter for teen girls.

It’s also the smallest city to have a chapter.

Impact 100 is based on 100 women each donating $1,000 to raise $100,000 for grants to nonprofits.

The local organization hopes to raise $300,000 this year, so it can announce three $100,000 grants at its annual meeting in October.

Next Gen members donate $100 each to raise $10,000.

“When we give back to the community, the community gets better and our lives get better,” Steele said.

Communities are being transformed with the donations, she said.

Steele said the first grant in Cincinnati was for $123,000 for a community dental clinic for the homeless and the uninsured.

The money bought new equipment for the clinic and helped more dentists get involved with transforming lives, Steele said.

She said Impact 100 “empowers women to transform their communities.”

In October 2006, the local Impact 100 organization, which had grown to 150 members, awarded its first grant — $150,000 — to Grandma’s Corner.

Steele said she hopes to return to Owensboro soon.

By Keith Lawrence  Messenger=Inquirer