By Marion Filler
One woman. One vote. One donation of $1,000 each.
It’s a simple formula for charitable giving, with endless possibilities. It’s called Impact 100 Garden State, started in 2012 in the living room of Carole Rogers of Morris Township and five local women who wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.
Impact 100’s most recent efforts reflect ever-increasing participation in Morris, Somerset, Passaic, Sussex, and now Union County. Membership has increased threefold from the original 135 members.
As a result, the organization celebrated its annual mission at Springbrook Country Club on Wednesday by awarding three $100,000 grants to deserving charities.
The search for recipients starts anew every year. Grants are solicited, committees make site visits, financial backgrounds are investigated, and the field is reduced to six finalists from which the membership votes to select the three winners.
It’s always a difficult choice.
Carolin Lopez of Paterson Family Financial Empowerment, one of this year’s winners, explained that “43 percent of Paterson residents are not welcome at banks because they have no credit. As a result, they pay huge fees to for check cashing and loans from unscrupulous lenders.”
Her organization provides financial education, full service banking, and low cost loans. “We empower people to become self-sufficient,” she said.
Samaritan Inn Inc., an emergency shelter program in Sussex County, provides temporary housing, food, and utilities for homeless families in buildings divided into apartments.
Funds from Impact will be used to acquire additional buildings to accommodate the growing number of employed, homeless people, who need help to get back on their feet. The program has an 83 percent success rate of moving families into permanent housing.
Table to Table Inc. is using its grant to expand its “Eat Fresh Passaic” program.
“In Passaic, one in every six children is hungry,” said Executive Director Ilene Issacs.
“Starting at 5 a.m., we visit supermarkets and distributors and deliver healthy food to 170 families every day. We have delivered 141 million meals without government funding, and every dollar we receive is the equivalent of 10 meals.”
Additional information about Impact can be found here.