“We want to raise just over $150,000 so that we can hit our total giving of $1M to the Greater Peninsula this year,” says Lacey Grey Hunter, co-chair of Impact100 Greater Peninsula. She continues: “A big idea starts with a small group of people, and when people have a big idea, it takes people buying into that idea for it to take off, and so a lot of credit goes to the women who said, ‘Let’s see if we can do this.’ They believed we could.”
Impact100 Global reaches the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia through a total of 60 chapters. Originally founded in 2001 by Wendy Steele, Impact100 was created to empower women by giving them a space to facilitate and encourage philanthropy. Impact100 Greater Peninsula was founded by Tricia Russell, Brooke Tiller and Courtney Gardner in 2015.
Hunter remembers joining in 2017 or 2018 after an invitation to a meeting from a friend. After her membership was granted, she says she began serving on a grant review committee. Later, she worked in marketing and social media for the organization, then she took her co-chair role.
Hunter considers the co-chair position to be “like an orchestra,” with its first and second levels. In the 2021-2022 year, she served as second co-chair, and then first co-chair in 2022-2023. She now shares this dual leadership role with fellow co-chair Shannon Edwards, of the Coastal VA Real Estate Team at RE/MAX Peninsula. Hunter described her responsibilities in the role as an opportunity “to work with other women who are part of Impact100 to make sure we’re telling [its] story, sharing that Impact100 makes an impact and then working to invite other women from within the Hampton Roads community to be a part of an organization that’s making a difference.”
Hunter says that the organization “thrives on volunteers.” The personal excellence that each member brings to the table is taken into consideration when considering who should take which leadership positions. These women, who are “giving generously of their funds and time,” in Hunter’s words, do so through the group’s different committees.
Impact100 Greater Peninsula gifts grants to organizations that present a need within the community, inviting proposals from throughout Hampton Roads at the end of March. On a yearly rotation, the group works hand in hand to direct its philanthropy toward the recipient it votes on, selected by a grants review committee. Each organization that may be eligible for a grant is placed in one of five categories: Arts and Culture, Family, Health and Wellness, Environment and Education. After committee discussion, site visits take place to help clarify the choice.
During the decision process, Hunter says that these guidelines for grant requests help to streamline operations: “Here’s a problem, here’s how these funds help us solve the problem and here is how lives will be changed as a result.” Lastly, the organizations that complete this step then present to Impact100 women at an event called the Big Give, which helps to determine the grantee. Previous years’ monies have been allocated to the Peninsula Youth Orchestra and the Center for Child and Family Services, according to its website. This year, Hunter says they supported the Lackey Dental Clinic.
Impact100 Greater Peninsula comprised 247 women last year, with the 2023 number expected to be similar. “What I love the most about our membership is it really does reflect many of the women within the Peninsula,” Hunter says. The ages and experiences of each member are different; however, they have a shared desire to create positive, visible change. New members can become acquainted with the organizations through Little Joins, held by women who are already a part of it.
In addition to her involvement with Impact100, Hunter is Christopher Newport University’s director of the President’s Leadership Program. While her two professional priorities don’t intersect, she says, “One is informed by the other,” regarding their similar focus on leadership. “It’s really cool when you see women come together to achieve something as phenomenal as giving away six figures worth of gifts every single year.”
TO THE POINT:
Impact100 Greater Peninsula
Address: 48 W Queens Way, Hampton, VA 23669
Contact: Lacey Grey Hunter, co-chair