310: Wendy Steele: Empowering Women and Transforming Lives


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By Nicole Jansen and Business Mentor | Transformation Coach | Change Maker. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Wendy Steele understands the impact of generosity and has been encouraging philanthropy for most of her adult life. In 2001, she launched and led an innovative pass-through foundation called Impact100 which empowers women to fund transformational grants to the communities it serves across five broad focus areas: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Family and Health & Wellness.

She continues to support, mentor and advise Impact100 Chapters around the globe as her Impact100 Model has been replicated in many cities. By the end of 2019, Impact100 organizations had given away just short of $80 million to worthy non-profits and it continues to expand at an accelerated pace.

Her work in philanthropy is also noted in several books including, The Transformative Power of Women’s Philanthropy; Women, Wealth and Giving; Women’s Giving Circles; and The Right Sisters – Modern Women Inventors. PBS Television created an hour-long documentary entitled, Impact 100: Changing Lives, Strengthening Communities, which highlights the work of Impact100 Pensacola Bay Area, the world’s largest Impact100 organization.

In 2014, Wendy was awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service for her work with Impact100. Considered the Nobel Prize for community service, this prestigious honor was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Samuel Beard to recognize individuals across the U.S. who improve communities through their service. In 2016, Wendy was named by Philanthropy Media as one of America’s Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers. She appeared on this list as Number 2, behind U2’s Bono, who holds the Number 1 spot.

In today’s conversation with us, Wendy Steele shares why she started Impact100 and how it works. She unpacks its evolution from the first group of women in her local city to becoming a movement of global proportion. We explore the demographics of women who participate, the power and impact of philanthropy and generosity, and what Impact100 members look for when choosing a non-profit to award a grant of $100,000+.

What We Discuss With Wendy Steele

  • What is Impact100 and how is it structured
  • The five focus areas they donate to and why
  • The benefit of diversity in forming a local chapter and vetting charities to support
  • How this model of impact is empowering women to own their power
  • The health benefits of authentic generosity
  • One of Wendy’s favorite stories of transformation and impact

Episode Resources


Connect With Wendy Steele and Impact100

336 episodes