Generation Impact to Launch Sunday
By Richard Kaufman
After several months of preparation and brainstorming, Generation Impact Fairfield County will officially launch at 4 p.m., on Sunday, April 22, at the Arch Street Teen Center in Greenwich.
Similar to Impact Fairfield County, a collective giving circle that engages women in Fairfield County through local philanthropy, Generation Impact will offer high school girls in grades 9-12 in the fall of 2018 the chance to learn about thoughtful giving, and provide youth-focused grants to local non-profit organizations.
Generation Impact hopes to amass at least 100 members. Each girl who signs up will have to raise $100, which will be pooled into a $10,000 grant and then presented to a local, youth-serving non-profit organization of the member’s choice after a lengthy and careful selection process.
The idea for Generation Impact came to fruition last August when Sara Allard, and her daughter, Isabel, a sophomore at Greenwich Academy, sat down for lunch with family friend, Wendy Block, who is the Co-President of Impact FFC.
Shortly after deciding that they were going to begin the new venture, Sara and Isabel, along with Ellen Reid, and her daughter Abby, a freshman at Greenwich High School, put together a group of sixteen girls from six different high schools across the county to form the leadership team for Generation Impact.
“We’ve been meeting since early December to really form the foundation of what will be Generation Impact,” said Sara Allard, who is also an Impact FFC board member.
In addition to the leadership team, Sara will serve as the Program Director, and Ellen will be the Director of Communications. Melissa Price also came aboard as the Director of Grants.
Now the process of putting together a larger group of girls in order to raise at least $10,000 begins with the launch event on Sunday, at the Teen Center.
“We’re just really looking to help girls understand what we’re trying to do,” Sara Allard said. The event will be open to any Fairfield County high school girl and her parents.
Jason Shaplen, Executive Director of Inspirica in Stamford, which received the first ever grant from Impact FFC several years ago, will be the keynote speaker and discuss the impact the grant has had on his organization. The leadership team will hold a panel Q&A on stage, and informational videos will be played as well.
There will also be a Gopher Ice Cream truck which will supply tasty treats to guests.
Isabel Allard, Director of the leadership team, said an organization like Generation Impact is extremely important, not only because of the end result of a monetary donation, but the process that must take place before that happens.
“Part of what we’re trying to do is not only give a grant but teach girls how to give thoughtfully by reviewing the grant applications and making the really heart-wrenching decision of: you can only give one grant, so who do you give it to when you’re presented with so many amazing charities that are all doing so much good?” she said.
Generation Impact will be managed by four separate committees: Grants, Membership, Communications, and Fundraising & Events, which will allow the girls to take on various leadership roles.
During the grant application process and non-profit review, which will formally begin in the fall and run during next school year, the girls will review grant applications in small groups.
After the field is narrowed, they’ll conduct site visits in order to get an up close and personal view of how a particular non-profit operates and what its needs are.
Ultimately, there will be a meeting which will be called, “The Big Give,” in which finalists will gather and present their non-profits to the full membership of Generation Impact. Each member will have one vote to determine the beneficiary of the youth-focused grant.
There’s no limit on membership for Generation Impact. The more members, the more of an impact the girls can have on local non-profits.
“The potential to reach out to every high school girl in Fairfield County and have them become members is our ultimate goal,” Sara Allard said, noting that inclusivity will be a core value.
“In a time where social life can be challenging for girls, teaching that lesson of inclusivity is going to be something that we really focus on,” she added.
Ellen Reid said Generation Impact is a good way for girls across Fairfield County to learn and expand their horizons beyond the town they’re growing up in.
“A lot of the girls only know about their tiny little school or their tiny little town. This is an opportunity for them to learn that there’s a great need across a variety of issues for kids that live in this county,” she said.
Involvement with non-profits doesn’t begin and end with donating money, Reid believes.
“This generation is the next generation of givers,” Reid said. “They have the opportunity to volunteer at these organizations and say, ‘This is really something I care about and I’m passionate about.’ Ultimately the money is important, too, but they have a chance to make an impact which I think is exciting.”
The Allards and Reids are thrilled about the excitement that has already been generated. Girls from other towns, such as Fairfield, New Canaan, Darien and Stamford, are expected to be in attendance at the launch event on Sunday.
“We’re starting to see the reach already,” Sara said.
Going forward after the launch event on Sunday, there will be a three-day retreat in August in which the Leadership Committee will meet to finalize the grant process and application. The application will be placed online in October so non-profit organizations can apply until the middle of November. The application review process will commence until the first annual Big Give takes place in April of 2019.
For more information on Generation Impact Fairfield County and to register for the launch event on Sunday, go to generationimpactffc.org.