Invitation to Impact

Hosted By Lauren Conaway

InnovateHER KC

See All Episodes With Lauren Conaway

Wendy Steele

Today's Guest: Wendy Steele

Founder & CEO - Impact100 Global

Belleair Bluffs, Florida

Ep. #1092 - Invitation to Impact

In this Startup Hustle episode, join Lauren Conaway and Wendy Steele, Founder & CEO of Impact100 Global. Listen to their invitation to impact communities through funding organizations focusing on transformational change. Hear them share the importance of empowering society, especially women, to make a difference in their communities.

Covered In This Episode

How do you create an environment where women can engage in community service in the spirit of philanthropy? Traditionally, women’s philanthropy is mainly time-based. They offer their free time to volunteer, but what if they don’t have time? How can they best impact their communities?

In this conversation, Wendy explains to Lauren how Impact100 empowers women to create transformational change. Also, they discuss how Impact100 focuses on education, arts and culture, environment, health and wellness, and family. Furthermore, this women’s organization provides grants to select non-profit groups to expand their operations and create more impactful community changes. Impact100 is truly an invitation to women to impact society through philanthropy.

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Listen to this Startup Hustle episode to learn more about Impact100 and how you can get involved.

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  • Wendy’s journey (1:07)
  • How do impact organizations build community trust to attract more potential donors? (2:59)
  • How Impact100 resonates with women around the world? (8:15)
  • The Five Focus Area (10:18)
  • The Impact100 chapters do a thorough job of vetting nonprofits (12:52)
  • Focusing on transformational change (14:47)
  • A successful funding example (18:23)
  • How does Impact100 work? (25:07)
  • Tracking impact outputs and outcomes (31:14)
  • What is Impact 100, and how did it get started? (35:05)
  • Which causes would Wendy like to invest in? (41:38)

Key Quotes

How do I create something that would allow women to be engaged in community service in philanthropy, but on their terms? You know, historical, traditional philanthropy for women is time base. And whether you work outside the home or you don’t, time is our most precious commodity. However, I have a season of life where we don’t have any money, all we have is time. But, there are other seasons of life where you don’t have any time. Let me write you a check. And don’t make me feel guilty about not doing anything else. Right? And in 2001. And even today, there are very few organizations that allow women to be authentically who they are and give back to the community in a meaningful way.

Wendy Steele

When you see more women represented in higher levels of leadership within a community, you see more money, you see more attention, and you see more focus put around. It was a very community-based cause.

Lauren Conaway

That’s a huge trend within the nonprofit space these days is collaborative grants. Because if you have two organisms, it’s the same premise, two heads are better than one, right? If you have two organizations, you are more likely to find followers and organizations. As a result, expose each brand to new audiences. So you have more interested parties, which means more money.

Lauren Conaway

Not only are we helping those who need the help most, but we are equipping women leaders who now have strong knowledge of what’s happening in the community. Where the most pressing problems are, they’re getting networked in, and they’re honing their leadership skills. Furthermore, as the economic engine of the community is getting fed, it’s like this flywheel starts, and all these other things start happening. As a result, that really transforms the lives of every member of the community well into the future.

Wendy Steele

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Lauren Conaway 0:00
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And I gotta tell you about today’s episode sponsor, folks. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by Hiring software developers is difficult. We all know that, but Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team. Visit to learn more. Now, friends, we have with us quite a leader today. We have with us Wendy Steele, founder and CEO of Impact100 Global and author of inventory, Invitation to Impact and so I’m really, really excited to get rockin and rollin. But first things first, Wendy, thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today.

Wendy Steele 0:49
Oh my gosh, Lauren, thank you. This is fun.

Lauren Conaway 0:52
Oh, it’s gonna it’s gonna be lots of fun by the time by the time we’re done, we’re gonna have like a little carnival happen in here on this podcast, but camp wakes first. Let’s go ahead and just kick it right off. Wendy, why don’t you tell us about your journey?

Wendy Steele 1:07
Gosh, uh, you know, I will tell you that my journey was anything but a straight line. I grew up in a family that gave back. I graduated from college and went into the banking business, because my grandfather was a banker. And he inspired me with his stories of helping people through his work in the bank. Alongside my banking career, I gave back to the community, I joined nonprofit board, I got involved. And then I was relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio after living on the East Coast for a long time. And when I went to Cincinnati, I met amazing women, I got involved in really terrific nonprofit organizations. And I realized that so many women there, they couldn’t see a viable path for themselves to get involved in their community. They, they worked outside the home, and they couldn’t take time off to come and volunteer with me or I who and I consider myself very much a generalist. If I was working on an arts and culture project or, or an education project, and I would invite one of my smart women friends to come alongside me, they would say, gosh, you know, that’s interesting, but I’m only passionate about health and human services or the environment. I also heard this sort of cynicism around nonprofits like you know, when I donate, I don’t really know what happens. Yeah, I don’t know where the money goes. There’s a scandal with some nonprofit making a seven figure salary and flying on a private jet. They want to know part of it.

Lauren Conaway 2:59
Yeah. isn’t a whole lot of transparency around that. And I’m like, I love GuideStar, which I’m sure you’re familiar with GuideStar. That’s my, my, my starting point, what I want to give to nonprofit but that’s that’s a really, really great point, you know, how do how do impact organizations and nonprofits build trust within communities to attract more potential donors and more potential fans and advocates and friends? That’s really great. You forgive me continue. I know that you have such a great story. But yeah, I’m already thinking through them like, oh, what can we talk about? They’re already like, 10 things.

Wendy Steele 3:39
Thank you. Exactly. Yeah, this is we will definitely have a lot to talk about. But so but understand that in Cincinnati, I was a banker. I was a transplant. I was not a likely founder. Yeah, the summer of 2001 when I was on vacation with my children, and I will say I am generally a workaholic. I love work. I work all the time. My husband works all the time. But I also know that sometimes the best ideas, the best inspirations come when we do get away and take a break. Yeah, so the summer of, oh, one, I take my kids on vacation. And it just started running through my head, all the reasons why women weren’t involved in the community. I got out a spiral notebook. And I started to write down everything I’d heard as well as I’d served on a lot of nonprofit boards. And I understood that as much as they appreciated getting grants of 5000 10,000 15,000 that those were amazing. They didn’t really allow those nonprofit leaders to fully execute on a strategic plan to launch a new program. So I have my

Lauren Conaway 4:56
friends for those of you who are listening at home, I just put my hands to my heart and gave like the biggest just, I let go of breath. When when you said that, Wendy. And the reason is, I deal with that every day. The fact is, you know, we, folks, so So innovate her Casey, we are not a nonprofit, but we are an impact organization. And we do take contributions from the public. And we do we take on a lot of sponsorships. And what’s fascinating about this whole impact space, is the $5,000. Checks are wonderful, please keep them coming. We love them. It’s how I eat, you know, at the same time, if I want to scale, if I want to hire people, if I want to do to invest in significant, you know, capital infrastructure, if I want to do big, big things with my organization, I need somebody to cut me a check for 50 grand for 100 grand, so that you not only have you have some runway, you have the ability to make significant financial decisions. Like, as you’re talking, it’s just you made my heart flutter with recognition, because I was like, Oh my gosh, I know what she’s talking about. And it’s not that they’re not grateful for weren’t grateful for the $5 that somebody pulls out of their pocket. But if you really, really want impact organizations to be able to create deep and meaningful change, you got to have a lot of money. Right? Is that? Is that what you’re finding?

Wendy Steele 6:29
100% That’s what I’m finding. And, and so the cause that’s really kind of how the concept of impact 100 was developed. I thought, How do I how do I create something that would allow women to be engaged in community service in philanthropy, but on their terms, you know, historical, traditional philanthropy for women is time base. And whether you work outside the home or you don’t, time is our most precious commodity. And I have a season of life where we don’t have any money, all we have is time. And there are other seasons of life, where you don’t have any time, let me write you a check. And don’t make me feel guilty about not doing anything else. Right. And in 2001. And even today, there are very few organizations that allow women to be authentically who they are, and give back to the community in a meaningful way. So

Lauren Conaway 7:36
I think the piece that’s resonating the most for me is you’re allowing women to give back in the way that is most convenient, not the word, but the way that integrates into their lives best for whatever season they’re in. That’s the that’s the key. So talk to the women that you serve, because I because I imagine that when you are working with your your constituents, to the women who follow you, and who wants to engage, you’re like a breath of fresh air to them, you’re making it easier for them to do the things that they really want to do. How what kind of reaction have you had from from the women that you serve? Yeah,

Wendy Steele 8:15
it’s been remarkable. Um, you know, I thought that I was building impact 100 for a community in Cincinnati, Ohio. Well, what I’ve learned in the 20 years since is that this concept resonates with women around the world. Oh, yeah. And so when I get to meet the women who are involved, I hear the stories of transformation, transformation in their own lives as they step into their authentic selves, as community leaders as philanthropists, as strategic investors, I also get to hear about the nonprofits that they fund. So it’s local women investing in their own community, but not with a gender lens. What I mean by that is, we don’t just give our grants to those organizations that serve women and girls. We give our grants across all we have five focus areas, so across the entire community, and that way, when the entire community is well funded, everyone thrives. But we know that if women had an opportunity to fund a research clinic that was solving prostate cancer, we would want to invest in that because that’s transformational change. That sustainable change, regardless of the fact that women don’t get prostate cancer. Yeah,

Lauren Conaway 9:47
so I’m smiling and y’all can’t see this windy cam though, but I’m smiling because we call that radical positive change around innovator. And I love it. We’re gonna we’re gonna have an offline conversation because I really would I’d like to get your bead on some things with innovator because it sounds like there’s a lot of alignments. I,

Wendy Steele 10:08
I can’t wait to hear more. Yeah, but

Lauren Conaway 10:10
but this is about you. And so, first of all, you said that you have five focus areas. So just really quick, can you run us through those?

Wendy Steele 10:18
education, arts and culture, environment, health and wellness and family? Okay. And the idea is that each one of them would be really broadly interpreted. So there wouldn’t be a nonprofit in your service area whose mission wouldn’t qualify for grants. Yeah.

Lauren Conaway 10:36
Well, and I love that. So there is a fun fact out there that circulates. And it’d be, the fun fact is, when you see more women represented in higher levels of leadership within a community, you see more money, you see more attention, and you see more focus put around, it was very community based causes. And we’re talking about health care, we’re talking about education, but you’re kind of, you’re running the whole gamut, like you got you got everybody in there. And I mean, the fact is, you know, I’m a woman, but maybe maybe my father passed away. So my father didn’t pass away from Crohn’s disease. I give to Crohn’s disease organizations that Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Foundation, like I give every year. And, you know, yeah, I don’t have Crohn’s disease. But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t impact my life, it didn’t touch someone I love. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to get involved. And so you’re not only serving as a conduit to that funding, which is, I can’t even imagine how these organizations feel when they receive a big old check. But you’re also providing a platform for the women to espouse the causes that they care about. And that has to be super empowering. Now one of the things that I find really, really interesting, so in doing my reading, I saw that impact 100 global, you have a big focus and in you vet the nonprofits extremely carefully. And I definitely want to hear more about that process with folks, I just want to kind of honor and acknowledge the fact that that is that’s crucially important in this age of, you know, digital transparency and trying to figure out ways to relate meaningfully to potential donors and constituents. The fact is, yeah, we want to know where our money is going. And so when you when you look at a nonprofit organization, and you say, All right, well, 90% of the funds that they take in goes to their operating budget. That’s a concern, because that leaves 10 10% for programs and programs is where you tend to see the most impact. So talk to us a little bit about that, how you kind of vet these nonprofits, how you put them through this very rigorous process so that you can bring peace of mind to the women who are giving.

Wendy Steele 12:52
And that’s exactly what it is Lauren, you know, women get to decide how involved they are in the process. So they’ve each donated $1,000, whoever then moves into the grant review process to start vetting these nonprofits. She’s not only looking after her own investment, but she is being a steward of all the other women who’ve given their money. That kind of brings you to a higher level of responsibility and of scrutiny. In many communities. The impact 100 chapter does a more thorough job of vetting than most other funders. And so that the cool there, you know, there are million cool things about that we learn so much more about the heroes who are doing great things in our local communities, we understand better, the most pressing problems that our neighbors and friends are facing, we we really get sort of behind the curtain to understand how these work. And we hold our nonprofits to a higher standard. So we hear all the time from nonprofits, whether they get funded, or they don’t get funded by us initially, how their organization benefits, but in impact 100 If you reach finalist status, which means you might get funded by us, or if you do get funded by us, what we find our community partners who look at these nonprofits with fresh eyes and say, If impact 100 Got them this far, they must be good. In many cases, we will pass those applications to community partners. And so either we funded them and you should too, or we couldn’t fund them this year, but they’re amazing. So maybe you want to fund them. No, they say is that

Lauren Conaway 14:47
level, you’re not just offering money. You’re also you’re offering visibility, credibility, and legitimacy. Yeah, like all of those things that nonprofits need. Now, this is a very selfish question that I have for you. I’m asking you, I very rarely ask questions just for me. And this is what? So when you’re looking for organizations to support, and you’re trying to figure out which word is there, I mean, there are 1000s upon 1000s of nonprofits out there. Are you placing a priority? Maybe on the smaller, smaller organizations that might need more help? Or are you placing emphasis on the really, really well resourced organizations that can do a lot they can stretch a lot with money that’s given? Do you have a philosophy around that

Wendy Steele 15:38
there are some chapters that are more focused on the smaller organizations. But that’s not the way the impact 100 model was designed, or what it was designed is that any nonprofit, as long as they follow the IRS guidelines, say serve in the community that that we, you know, we fund do what they say they’re, they’re doing? Exactly, yeah. And they have to have a minimum, you know, threshold of revenue and experience, because when you give them a grant, our minimum grant size is $100,000. So we want to do more harm when we give that $1,000 Grant. But most chapters don’t have a revenue ceiling. So a big nonprofit can apply. A smaller nonprofit can apply, nonprofits can collaborate together and create an application

Lauren Conaway 16:33
Kalevi. That’s a huge trend within the nonprofit space these days is collaborative grants. Because if you have two organisms, it’s the same premises two heads are better than one, right? If you have two organizations, you are more likely to find followers and organizations and expose each brand to new audiences. So you have more interested parties, which means more money

Wendy Steele 16:57
all the way around, and which means greater impact. What worry, we don’t tell or guide our nonprofits who they should collaborate with. Sometimes it’s too like organizations, but sometimes very different, you know, a health care facility with a transportation or with a community gardens facility. And so, you know, things sort of generate the way they should we look at all of the applications with a lens of is what you’re proposing transformational. We’re not all that excited with incremental growth, we’re not all that excited with, you know, a little baby step forward. So we want to see transformation, and we want to make sure it’s sustainable. And those lenses really helped to inform how our nonprofits move to the top of the list.

Lauren Conaway 17:55
Can you say so I love the idea of transformational change. And I’m not a very patient person. And I imagine that as most of our listeners are, you know, involved in the startup space, like y’all probably aren’t very patient either. So cuz I know you, we see you. But my my question to you is talk to us a little bit about, like, do you have an example of an organization that is making great transformational change that you were able to fund?

Wendy Steele 18:23
i There are a million of those organizations. I’ll give you a story from our very first grant so great. In Cincinnati, when I had this idea in 2000, lend, we’ve got our 501 C three by March of oh two, and by May 123, women had written a check for $1,000. So we told the community apply in these five focus areas, we are giving you one grant of $123,000. Now we got well over 100 applications. Many of those were transformational, the one that was funded however, and it was voted on we democratize philanthropy, so one woman one check one vote, when the highest vote getter was the mcmicken Dental Clinic in over the Rhine, which is one of Cincinnati’s most difficult neighborhoods. What happened was, they were operating with one staff dentist, a woman named Dr. Judy Allen, and he had five dental chair setups that had been donated. They’d been cobbled together, they were old and they needed to be replaced. So are $123,000 re outfitted all five dental chairs. Wow. One check all five. Judy invited all the members of impact 100 to come to her clinic and see the difference. Yeah, so we’ve got transformation in spades on uneasily All around the room where these before and after photos of the patients that she sees, you know, no problems. It’s not about veneers and caps and bleaching and whatever cosmetic. This can be life threatening and live.

Lauren Conaway 20:16
If you leave dental issues uncared for, I mean, yeah, people don’t like it causes, I think it causes heart problems, I’ve heard a lot of digestion problems like

Wendy Steele 20:27
it can be very significant. Think

Lauren Conaway 20:28
about you know that this office is operating within a an economically distressed area. Imagine how transformative it would be to be able to walk into a dental clinic, have your your issue taken care of your existing free from pain, you have fixed, you know, probably a long term problem, or many, many problems depending on how long it’s been since you’ve had dental care. I mean, you don’t really like if you have if you’re privileged enough to have access to dental care, you probably don’t think about it much probably get annoyed for your like when your annual cleaning call comes around. But if you don’t have access to that, that could be a truly transformational thing, like a weight off of your shoulder, you feel better, you you probably look better, you know, you’re more confidence, but really, you’re creating deep change for yourself and your families. You know, if I have that in my kids know about it, and I’m cranky all the time, and I can’t fix this thing, then, you know, by having that fixed. I get to engage with my children more fully, or my family or my community around me. That’s huge.

Wendy Steele 21:39
You are absolutely right, Lauren. And the other thing is think about the typical entry level position, entry level position, if someone has black teeth, missing teeth, swollen face, yeah, you’re not going to offer them a job as the receptionist of your organization, right of a hostess in a restaurant or a host of a of a busser in a restaurant, even sometimes a dishwasher, you will likely would not hire them as a front line person in your retail store. So a lot of the kinds of jobs that are typically available to people that don’t have deep skills, the education, that’s their starting point. And for many of these, their their appearance can be enough to keep them from getting hired and the health issues that also come with all of that. So. So Dr. Allen had these before and after pictures of her patients. And you could see their eyes light up. You could see the confidence as they smiled in the second picture. Yeah, transformation is that the equipment itself will last 20 years. That’s sustainable, right? Not only that, she ended up getting many more dentists to come and volunteer alongside her because now there was reliable equipment, right that she was serving more of the homeless and uninsured population. She was doing more. And you you look at what happened there was a Family Foundation who also came in, they gave the clinic, new carpeting, new office furniture, new paint, the entire facility was really uplifted. And it made things that

Lauren Conaway 23:33
we’re not really acknowledging that I think is really important. So if you if you ever read Freakonomics, there’s the I’m gonna butcher the the numbers on the I’m not even gonna say the numbers. But the fact is, like, there was a period of time in the 80s, when New York City was super high crime. And one of the ways that the mayor of New York City tried to curb crime in this area was they removed all of the graffiti. And the thinking was, it’s like when you go to a job interview, you dress for the job you want, not the job, you have you dress up so that you feel, you know, much more ready to tackle what comes your way you feel more confident. And so imagine that you’re that you walk into a place to get your teeth issues addressed. But you can see that like the fittings and the chairs, and the carpets, like all of these things they’ve been made to to make you feel welcome into clearly showing that you are prioritized as a human being that your care means something and so that’s really meaningful as well. You know, it’s not just the T O. It’s a kind of the neighborhood or community kind of embracing you and saying, Hey, we see you and you matter. And that doesn’t happen a lot in a lot of economically distressed situations. And the people who would go to this clinic, they don’t experience that a time. They don’t get to go nice places all the time. And so that has to be really meaningful as well.

Wendy Steele 25:02
Right? Absolutely. Yeah. so powerful, so powerful to see that happen.

Lauren Conaway 25:07
Oh, that is a beautiful story. I love that so much. And you know what I got so involved in listening to that story that I forgot to tell you about another great thing. I don’t know if y’all have heard but Full Scale is pretty, pretty great. Finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit full where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers, testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit full to learn more. And friends, just a refresher, we are here with Wendy Steele, founder and CEO of Impact 100 global and author of invitation to impact now, we were just talking about kind of it kind of a really interesting case study or use case for impact 100. And it’s a really beautiful story. But I want to get a little bit into the minutia and the nitty gritty. So the concept is you have a pool of women who have indicated that they want to donate, donate funds, and they write $1,000. Check. They put it into a fund and then impact 100 That’s different organizations and reviews proposals and looks over things. But talk us through that’s my general just understanding of the process. But take us through a little in a little bit more detail.

Wendy Steele 26:28
Yeah, absolutely. And you’re very close. You’re you’re almost you are right you are right there almost every community, we invite all women from all walks of life to come and join. And the way they join is by writing a check for $1,000. We pull all of that money together. And in every increment of 100 women we give away another grant so that in the example I gave you earlier, we had 123 Women’s we gave away one grip of $123,000. The world’s largest impact 100 organization is in of all places, Pensacola, Florida, where they are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. And although I don’t know how many women have joined for this year, that will be announced later. What I do know is that beginning on their 10th anniversary, they had 1000 Women 1000 members Oh, which means you give away a million dollars on a day that has become known as million dollar Sunday. Now, they grew from a million to 1.1 million, so they give away 11 grants of at least $100,000 on a single day in Pensacola, Florida. Now, the idea is women write their checks. And then we announce to the world how much money we have. So nonprofits know exactly how much to apply for those same women determine how involved they want to be. So there is not an ivory tower of special people who get to review all of these applications that come in and vetted them and then present them back to the membership. If you are a member you get to be involved in all of the vetting if you choose. And if you choose not to, you can trust that this rigorous process will be followed. Yeah, ultimately, we work so that we have in the case of chapters that are giving away anywhere between one and $400,000. So one or one to four grants. We have five finalists, one in each one of those focus areas. Now for Pensacola, they have three in each focus areas, three finalists and they will fund two in all five, and then one focus area gets their third grant funded in case you’re curious how that math works. But in my if you were to ask me what my goal is for an impact chapter, you know, how big should it be? Is it 1000? Is it 2000? You know, what’s the number, I will tell you that if we can get at least 500 Women donating. What that means is every single one of those focus areas will get at least $100,000 every single year. What happens then, is really remarkable and and kind of I don’t want to call it ironic but serendipitous. Now remember, I was an economics major. And I started off as a banker, I left all that behind should do this with impact. When impact 100 comes into a community, it becomes an economic driver. So imagine a community where year over year, even if it’s two or $300,000, which would be a smaller impact 100 community, two or $300,000 is being given to the nonprofit community every year. Now, how does that help the business owners? immeasurably the Chambers of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation in those communities, not only are we helping those who need the help most, but we are equipping women leaders who now have strong knowledge of what’s happening in the community, where the most pressing problems are, they’re getting networked in, they’re honing their leadership skills. And as the economic engine of the community is getting fed, it’s like this flywheel starts, all these other things start happening. And that really transforms the lives of every member of the community, well into the future. Well, and

Lauren Conaway 31:14
I want to follow that for just a moment, because I feel like I might have a unique perspective on what we’re talking about here because I lead an impact organization. And I can tell you that so innovate her, Casey, again, we’re not a nonprofit, we’re not eligible for these funds, but we adapt a lot of the same mechanisms by which to power ourselves, right? So I’m gonna speak from that experience. So the fact is, like, innovate her, Casey, if we were to receive a $100,000 grants a, I’d be able to pay myself consistently, which let’s be real, like, as an entrepreneur, y’all know, that is not always a given. Yeah, mostly, not always. But but not only that, like my organization, we serve all of these incredible women. But we also interface with the community. So like, if we had $100,000 would allow us to put on a huge fundraising events, well, multiple huge fundraising events, because every nonprofit leader, I know, knows how to, but leverage relationships to like, like, we’re all, we’re all used to running on super thin margins, let’s just say that. But that being said, you know, if we have an event, I then hire people out in the community, and we look for organizations that, you know, people that hire that need that assistance, we bring people in, we would be able to hire for two new positions with $100,000. And we could pay those people and we would we so we personally like we look for people who are coming from socio economically distressed, backgrounds to work with because we want to create that elevation of change. And so it every step, everything that these impact organizations do create exponential ripple effects of change and progress, just because like that, $100,000 It isn’t just $100,000 it is what I mean, let’s go, it’s millions, let’s be real, like the economic impact. And you say, as an economic driver, like we’re not just looking at numbers on a paper, we’re looking at opportunities to build generational wealth, we’re looking at opportunities to go into economically distressed areas and offer relief, where you like there are all kinds of side effects, quote, unquote, that are not related to like this is this is actually and you probably have some thoughts on this as well. One of the hardest things about my job is trying to track outcomes over outputs. Outputs are super easy to track. You know, we had 432 people at this event. And 96% of them said that they were satisfied, those are outputs, right? But what we what impact organizations focus on we focus on outcomes. In 10 years, did somebody need did one of our members meet somebody who helps them in their business through innovate her Casey, did they learn something through innovate her Casey that helped them in their business that helps them become the next driver of change, right? So you have all of these very high minded things that are extremely difficult to track. But guess what, almost every single impact organization I know of focuses on those outcomes over outputs. And so what I’m saying and this is a very, I took a very roundabout way to get here, the fact is that $100,000 That you are giving or the 400 however much it is, you have to multiply that by unknown factors like an unknown amount of factors to say that $100,000 represents millions in potential impact, right, because everything was impacted organization touches, has the potential to create change and do better and help. Right.

Wendy Steele 34:55
Exactly, exactly. Yes. No. And we have

Lauren Conaway 35:01
so excited talking about this. I’m so excited.

Wendy Steele 35:05
Oh my gosh, I love that. Yeah, we’ve tried to check those outcomes. But it’s, as you well know, and probably every single one of your listeners can relate. It’s really hard to do. So a lot of times it’s anecdotal. Yeah. But here’s, here’s the thing. We’re talking about impact 100, which started as a grassroots organization led by an unlikely founder, in Cincinnati, Ohio. It spread. So we made our first grant in 2002. It for $123,000. That’s what I just told you about. Yeah, by the end of 2022, we have collectively around the world given away more than $123 million. So the the math like we have grown 1000 fold in 20 years, and each woman gives $1,000. Now, math doesn’t usually work that way. But the fact that this math works that way, yeah, like has me smiling until it hurts. But here’s the here’s the other thing, though, this is the part that is really important. Because so much of what you talked about, Lauren, when you talk about, you know, founders don’t always get paid, and you do all this work, and you know, and a wing and a prayer. And that is my reality. Because all of these impact 100 chapters, they’re all run by volunteers that work I do it impact 100 global, is I help coach them up. So existing chapters, they’re run by volunteers, you have leadership turnover, you have growth, growing pains, you’ve got all kinds of things that happen. I work with them. And I work with all the communities who want to start up. Yeah, we’ve grown over 20 years 100% Because someone raised their hand in a local community and said, I want to bring impact 100 here. Now, imagine a world if we didn’t have to wait for somebody to raise your hand. What if we went to underestimated underrepresented communities, we came alongside helped identify leaders and said, let’s bring an impact 100 to your community, let’s watch you lead and grow this thing in communities and among populations of women who don’t normally raise their hand because let’s face it, our our membership at impact 100 is diverse in their, in their economic status is diverse by virtually every measure. Yeah. However, it takes a certain kind of a leader to raise her hand and say, I want to start this up. And as much as I’ve described impact 100. And it sounds simple, and powerful. And it is both of those things. But executing it well is not easy. We don’t give founders a plug and play. You know, you want to do it today, you’re up and running in 60 days. It is a journey in and of itself. Yeah. And the idea of being able to bring economic development, bring leadership skills, bring women together in those communities where they aren’t likely to raise their hand. Yeah. That’s what’s next. That’s how we really change the world. And then going back to the existing chapters and saying, I know where your pain points are, instead of waiting for them to say we have a crisis or we have a situation. If we could proactively go out to them and say, Lauren, I know that this is your third year. And we know that at this point, you’re going to need some shoring up in these areas. Let’s talk about your governance. Let’s talk about what you’re doing.

Lauren Conaway 39:17
So in nonprofit organizations, like there is a very in order to get your 501 C three designation, which I mean there are all kinds of 501 designations by the way, there’s 501 C sixes and the IDO associations, institutions. All of that stuff. I’m talking about 501 C three is because that’s where my my knowledge kind of begins and ends. But But with 501, C threes, to get that determination from the IRS and get that beautiful letter that you just show off to everybody. You have to fulfill some pretty stringent requirements. There are reporting requirements. There are financial requirements, there are oversight, board and leadership requirements that you have to have in order to have you Your 501 C three. And so so you have to start there. But then consumers expect more from their nonprofit organizations, they expect really, really stringent reporting on, I gave my money, this is what it went to. And I find that a lot like I go to GuideStar before I make a donation anywhere, and for those of you who haven’t heard of GuideStar, it’s kind of a repository of all of the 501 C threes in the United States. I’m actually not sure about global, to be honest with you. But you go in and it shows you some of that financial reporting and stuff. But as women, and I’m going to, let me just preface this hashtag, not all men. But you know, as women, we the data shows empirically, time and time again, that women tend to be the primary child caregivers, the primary households cares, the labors. And the fact is, we have a lot of demands on our time as agender let’s be real. And so anything that can make that community interfacing and that community engagement easier, more accessible, I love it. I smiled really big when you use the word democratize. I love that word. I use it all the time with innovator. we democratize access to opportunity. And that’s what you’re doing. You’re making it so it because it because the it’s not that these women don’t have hearts, it’s that they don’t have time making it so much easier for them to invest and to to see their money, grow and do and make change. And I just I love that. Thank you so much for that. Wendy, I just want to say thank you.

Wendy Steele 41:35
Thank you. Oh, my gosh. Thank you. That’s awesome.

Lauren Conaway 41:38
That is simple. Well, so we have come up to the human question. And I will tell you in pre show prep, Wendy and I chatted a little bit about the human question. And I actually, I’m going to base it on something that we’ve talked about, because I’m just very, very curious. But do you have any particular organizations or causes that you like to invest in? Personally? What does Wendy like to do with her time?

Wendy Steele 42:08
Lily? Good question. Well, obviously, I give a lot of my time and my money to impact 101 that I am very much a generalist, meaning I don’t have a pet like, I want to be in this lane with a group I support.

Lauren Conaway 42:26
This too. By the way, when you said that earlier, I got all excited because I was like, I know a little bit about a lot of things. But I’m not really I’m not really an expert in anything. And I have a general interest because I’m like we do well in startup spaces where you have to do like 20 different things. Right, right.

Wendy Steele 42:42
Yeah, yeah, no choice in the matter. But when I am looking to give to a nonprofit, it is almost always based on leadership. And it is based on my sense that what they’re doing is going to move the needle. So I like innovation. I like new approaches. But I also like success story. So yeah, I don’t I don’t sick in any one lane. I really though, get excited when I realized that somebody’s moving the needle in a powerful way. That’s who I want to help regardless of if they’re big, small, who they’re helping where they’re helping, you’re moving the needle, you’re make something happen, you will get a donation.

Lauren Conaway 43:26
I mean, that is an answer. I will buy it because I’m very much the same way people are like, do you just do volunteer work for women all the time? And I’m like, actually, I women is my job. That like I love donating to animal causes education, you know, like all of those. Those really, really feel good areas. And it’s not it’s like, I do my work for women. And I love doing my work for women. But sometimes I need to take a little break, you know? A shelter.

Wendy Steele 43:59
Don’t eat all right.

Lauren Conaway 44:02
Well, I love that. And Wendy, I have loved our time together. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us this this was fine. And I know this was really fun. I want to get you $1,000 Check and just be like here, do something with it. But anyways, speaking of fun, you know, I know that building a software team. We all know that building a software team isn’t super fun. It I used to be an IT recruiter, and it was really, really difficult finding the developers and the experts that I needed. But here’s the thing Full Scale can help. If you need to hire software engineers, testers or leaders Full Scale is there. They have the people in the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit full All you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers and leaders. It Full Scale they specialize in building long term teams that work only for you learn more when you visit full and friends I’m gonna go ahead and point six you are how to build a tech company series. I know you’ve heard me talk about it before, but many of you I know that many of you want to build a tech company and our founders Matt and Matt Matt squared, they have actually put together a 52 part series on how to do that. So definitely check it out, Startup Hustle dot XYZ or wherever you get your podcast consumables and friends. We are extraordinarily grateful that you come back week after week and listen to us. We want to hear your stories, so don’t hesitate to share and keep on coming back. We will catch you next time.