The Power of One

November 4, 2013

Sometimes it takes a village, sometimes it takes 100 women that seems like a village, and often it’s simply the power of one that makes a difference–or maybe it’s all three variables combined!  “On October 30 Impact 100 Garden State made its very first charitable contribution, an award of $135,000, to the Printmaking Center of New Jersey to expand the reach of its Combat Paper NJ program. The Printmaking Center was one of 60 applicants to this new philanthropy that describes itself  as the power of one woman multiplied by many–women working together to make a difference locally.

Here’s how it works.  The aim of Impact 100 is to combine $1,000 donations from 100 members to award a $100,000 grant each year to the charity selected by those members. Membership is open to all women who embrace the same goals and make a tax-deductible donation of $1000. In its inaugural year Impact 100 exceeded its goal by reaching 135 members, hence the inaugural award of $135,000.

Nonprofit organizations operating in the four county region that includes Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Sussex are encouraged to apply for the grant.  Interest areas are arts and culture, education, the environment, family, and health and wellness.  Volunteer committees read the applications, assess the merits of each, make site visits and narrow the field. Summaries of the finalists in each focus area are presented to the full membership for vote at the annual meeting. Each contributing member casts one vote and votes are tabulated by accountants to determine the winner that is announced at the annual meeting. Member involvement can be as simple as a vote or hands on involvement in the review process, all working toward the mission of making a transformative difference in the lives of men, women, and children in the region.

Linda Helm Krapf, Executive Director of the 40 year old Printmaking Center of New Jersey in Branchburg, received the charity’s first award along with David Keefe, Director of the Combat NJ program.  Linda said in accepting the award, “History will judge us on what we do to help vets deal with the trauma of war.  We’ve stepped up to heed the call.”  David Keefe, a former US Marine, further elaborated by saying, “This grant will give us the chance to transform the program we have been working on for the last two years. We will be able to hire a dedicated team for a permanent mobile workshop presence throughout New Jersey.  We will be able to take our program on the road into your communities and help your local veterans.”Here is a video of the ceremony.

Combat Paper NJ, a 2013 Wounded Warrior Project grant recipient, is a veteran-led therapeutic program using art as a tool to heal. The powerful communal experience of creating handmade art from old combat fatigues assists veterans’ recovery from the physical, emotional, and psychological pain of combat. Combat Paper NJ is run by veterans for veterans. In weekly drop-in sessions, on college campuses, in community centers, VA Hospitals, and military installations, Combat Paper NJ brings printmaking and the ancient art of hand-papermaking to all veterans from all conflicts. Combat Paper is testimony to the transformational power of art and continues a rich tradition where art throughout history has helped post-conflict societies deal with the past, reconciliation and coping with trauma.

The Arts and Culture focus area committee wrote in support of its finalist, “Awarding Impact 100’s first grant to Combat Paper NJ would be a powerful statement–illustrating how a unified group of women can underwrite a transformational program honoring the commitment and sacrifice of the thousands of soldiers who dedicate their lives to the military and to our country, protecting our lives.” We applaud Impact 100 for introducing this innovation in philanthropy to the Garden State and for recognizing the profound power of the arts through the Printmaking Center of New Jersey and Combat Paper NJ.

(Full disclosure:  the author takes great delight in having referred the Impact 100 program to the Printmaking Center of New Jersey, and congratulates them for this huge win!)

Images courtesy of ArtPride

Ann Marie Miller is the Executive Director of ArtPride, the premier arts advocacy organization in New Jersey, and a regular contributor to the Dodge blog.