Focus Area Committees

The Focus Area Committee (FAC) is at the heart of organization and what sets Impact100 DC apart from other philanthropic organizations. This is where our members connect with area nonprofit organizations’ specific ideas for addressing community needs. This is where we decide: What program or project will make the most profound impact with our grant funds?  

Impact100 DC members may volunteer on any one of the five committees: Family, Education, Health and Welfare, Arts and Culture, and Environment. In addition, members may volunteer on the Finance Committee, which does a “deep dive” analysis of an organization’s financial statements and long term viability following the initial round of grant screening. A financial background, while preferred, is not required to serve on the Finance Committee.

Those members who have served on FAC’s agree that it is a fun and rewarding experience that deepens their relationship with the organization and our community. Members learn how to assess a proposal’s strengths and weaknesses and how to evaluate the likelihood of success. Members bring diverse opinions rising from their professional, volunteer, and lived experiences, creating a rich environment for learning. Please review the timeline and FAQ’s below to ensure that you fully understand the commitment you will be making when you join a committee.

Focus Area Committee work begins in late January and runs through early May. See below for our 2024 timeline.

2024 Timeline for Focus Area Committee/Finance Committee participation
  • December 5th, 2023 – January 12th, 2024: Member sign-up period for Focus Area Committee participation
  • January 25th: Training (zoom) for all Focus Area Committee participants
  • Week of January 29th: Committee level orientation meetings (continued training for participation)
  • February 5th-March 8th: First round of grant review by FAC’s
  • March 11-April 12th: Finance Committee review
  • April 15-May 10th: Site visits by FAC’s and Finance Committee
  • By May 10th: Final Committee selections
What if I miss the deadline? Can I sign up late?

No. Unfortunately, we cannot accept late sign ups. The grants review period is very tight and late sign ups create significant disruptions to the flow of the FAC process. If you miss the sign up deadline, but still wish to get more involved, we have other volunteer opportunities, including on our membership and events committee. Visit our Volunteer Opportunities page to learn more ways to get involved.

Can I choose which FAC I sign up for?

Yes! During the sign up, we ask that each member select a FAC based on their interests and/or area of expertise. If you are flexible about your choice of committee, we ask that you indicate that so we can balance committee sizes if necessary. Many committee members, even those with particular expertise in a given area, have enjoyed the learning opportunity that exists from participating on different committees from year to year.

Can you tell me more about the process?

There are 3 phases to the Focus Area Committee review process:

Committee members evaluate proposals in their areas. Not everyone needs to read each proposal. Lead and secondary readers are assigned to each application. Members can expect to read from 2-4 proposals and score them on a rubric. Committees narrow applications down to 3 to send to the Finance Committee.

FAC members have a hiatus while the Finance Committee members perform a deep dive into the financial information and reports.

Committee representatives conduct site visits of semi-finalists (in person) and report to the full committee. (Members of the Finance Committee participate during phase three as well.) During final discussions the committee will select one finalist for promotion to the full membership for a vote.

What is the time commitment involved?

In phase one, lead readers and secondary readers can generally expect to spend up to an hour reading one application to present to the full committee – so that’s times 2 to 4. Meetings to present and discuss applications will likely take place once a week, with perhaps the need for an additional meeting at the end.

In phase three, when committee work resumes after the Finance Committee has completed its review, committee member participation in site visits is optional but encouraged. Ideally, each member would attend one or perhaps two site visits depending on the size of the committee. Final deliberations and a committee vote will likely take in one to two meetings.

How do I know how to evaluate a grant application?

We will provide grant review training for members at the beginning of the grant cycle. Training covers ethics, rules and responsibilities, evaluation criteria, and how to use our online application system. There is also a scoring rubric provided to help members evaluate applications consistently. You will also have the support of your FAC chair and other members.

What if this is my first time on an FAC and I want to observe but not review applications?

Given the importance of the FAC and the number of applications we receive, we require that all FAC members are actively involved, accepting assignments as lead and secondary readers. If you do not feel comfortable reviewing applications, but wish to get more involved with Impact100 DC, visit our Volunteer Opportunities page to learn about other ways to get involved.

What if the FAC meeting time doesn’t work with my schedule?

During the signup process, the meeting time for each FAC will be listed to help you select a FAC that works with your schedule. FAC meeting times will be varied to offer options for all types of schedules. We ask that you pay attention to the meeting time when signing up.

I’m interested in participating on the Finance Committee. Tell me more.

Participation on the Finance Committee is hugely interesting work, in part because members become familiar with applications from all of the Focus Area Committees. Their work takes place during phases 2 and 3.

In phase two, Finance Committee members can expect to spend 1-2 hours reviewing each application. This includes a review of the application proposal, proposal budget, financial reports, and performing initial analysis and documentation of review. As described above, the Finance Committee will review the 15 applications selected by the FACs. Members will generally review 2-3 applications so can expect approximately 6 hours of review time.

Meetings will be held to discuss applications and initial findings and will approximate 1.5 – 2 hours in length. The first meeting will be an orientation and training session to introduce members and walk through the financial review process and documentation steps. No finance or prior financial statement review experience is required. Finance Committee members also participate in site visits.