Impact100 South Jersey donates grants to county nonprofits

Pinelands alliance and Cedar Run refuge get $50,000 each

Special to The Sun

About five years ago, a small group of South Jersey women had the goal of organizing their own branch of Impact 100, a women’s collective that awards more than $100,000 in grant funds annually to area nonprofits.

The initial group of six founding members was able to recruit the necessary number of members to jumpstart Impact100 South Jersey, connecting women across Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties who were interested in assisting local charities and nonprofits. 

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The group recently announced awards of $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Cumberland County and two $50,000 grants to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. Total awards from Impact100 South Jersey, have now topped more than $800,000 since the organization’s start in 2017, putting it on track to award more than $1 million by the end of next year.

According to Impact100 South Jersey President Kyle Ruffin, the group reviews grant applications based on three main criteria.

“We look for nonprofits and organizations that focus on three main areas, with those being women, children or families, education and community health and well-being,” Ruffin said. “We currently have exactly 200 members in our group, so we break into smaller groups to decide how we all feel about certain applications before coming together at our annual meeting to discuss them as a whole.”

The $100,000 award to the Boys and Girls Club is what Ruffin calls a transformative grant, one that seeks to assist organizations who want to add something new to their current offerings that will help transform their role in the community. Meanwhile, funds awarded outside of the $100,000 grant are considered general operating grants, to help assist nonprofits with their current projects. 

When the South Jersey organization started, the state already had three separate groups of Impact100, as did Philadelphia, leaving some initial detractors to say South Jersey wasn’t big enough to support its own separate group. That has proved to be wrong. 

“Philadelphia is one thing and North Jersey is another, but I don’t think people seemed to understand the power of the population of South Jersey to be able to pull something like this off when we first got started,” Ruffin recalled. 

“It’s a testament to the amount of wealth and compassion that is right here in a region that can often get overlooked at times.”

Impact100 South Jersey is always accepting new interested members and is currently hosting virtual membership information sessions throughout August and September over Zoom. Meetings are currently scheduled for Thursday; Wednesday, Aug. 24; and Tuesday, Aug. 30, all at 6:30 p.m.

More information can be found at https://impact100sj.org/attend-an-info-session.

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