Impact Fairfield County Hosts Fall Kick-Off Meeting


Speakers Jason Shaplen, CEO, Inspirica, Dr. Debra Mesch, Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Vicki Craver and Wendy Block, Co-Presidents, Impact Fairfield County.

Speakers Jason Shaplen, CEO, Inspirica, Dr. Debra Mesch, Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Vicki Craver and Wendy Block, Co-Presidents, Impact Fairfield County.

Impact Fairfield County held its second annual Fall Kick-Off Meeting at the Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium on Oct. 19. More than 70 women attended the event and heard from two dynamic speakers: Jason Shaplen, CEO of Inspirica, inaugural $100,000 Impact Grant Winner, and Dr. Debra Mesch, Women’s Philanthropy Institute Director at Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Both spoke to the power of women making a profound difference in their local community by uniting together in collective philanthropy.

Jason Shaplen began his talk by thanking Impact members for supporting the groundbreaking, innovative Inspirica Early Childhood and Parenting Program. According to Shaplen, “Within a homeless program that serves families… we (now) focus on that [zero-to-five year old] child because, at the end of the day, that is the most effective way to break the cycle of homelessness.” He continued by saying “The program you funded is making a profound difference…you are changing lives by what you have done.”

Dr. Mesch discussed the importance of organizations such as Impact Fairfield County, saying, “Giving circles provide women the opportunity for engagement, to deepen their understanding about community needs, to be able to participate in collective decision making.” She goes on to point out, “I think that one of the benefits of this giving circle… is that it enables women to say yes to improving your community and to leveraging your resources with like-minded women for maximum impact. It’s a win-win for all involved.”

Impact Co-Presidents, Wendy Block and Vicki Craver, emphasized the exponential power of women when they come together to drive philanthropy, as well as the opportunity to make significant change here in Fairfield County, CT by joining as a member. Craver stressed that, “100% of the membership contributions go directly to the grants we provide in the spring” and that “the more members we have, the more grants we can give.”

Impact Fairfield County is a collective giving circle for women of Fairfield County. Members make contributions that are pooled to provide transformational grants of $100,000 to local non-profits for new projects or programs or the significant expansion of existing programs. These grants are chosen by a vote of the membership after a rigorous grants review process by volunteer committee members. Last year, in its inaugural year, Impact provided $160,000 in grant funding, including its $100,000 Impact Grant to Inspirica for its Early Childhood and Parenting Program, as well as $30,000 each in general operating support to Neighbors Link Stamford and SoundWaters.

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