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By TRACEY ROXBURGH

Talk about girl power.

In its inaugural year in Queenstown, Impact100 Wakatipu has raised $150,000 – $100,000 of which will be donated in one lump sum to a local charity or not-for-profit group this November, for which expressions of interest are now open.

Local resident Kristen Holtzman’s behind the Queenstown chapter of the global initiative, supported by the Wakatipu Community Foundation, which aims to give back to charities and encourages philanthropy for women, all of whom this year are founding members.

She started gathering donors in February, just before Covid-19 hit, and wanted to reach 100 members, who each donated $1000, this year.

To have exceeded that already is amazing, she says.

“We want this to be sustainable, we want this to keep going up – next year we want to hit 200 [members].”

Holtzman says she’s thrilled with the support and response from Wakatipu women – the youngest is Hannah Battrick, a Year 12 student at Wakatipu High.

“She’s part of Generation Give … I’m so proud of her and excited she’s part of this group,” Holtzman says.

For charities or not-for-profits, expressions of interest – the first step in the grant process – have now opened and will close on July 15.

Those who are eligible will be asked to submit a full application by September 15.

A grant committee will be chaired by long-time local and community activist Joan Kiernan.

She’ll evaluate applications and do site visits to whittle it down to five finalists to be selected from “focus areas” of art, culture and preservation, education, environment and animal welfare, and family and wellness.

Kiernan, who’s lived in Queenstown 20 years, says Impact100 is “so different” to traditional funding models.

“It’s the power of people getting together – the contribution from each person is really small, but when you put it all together, it makes a huge difference.”

The finalists will all make a presentation to the Impact100 members at a dinner in Queenstown in November.

Each member gets one vote to determine the overall winner.

A video conference call’s been scheduled for this Wednesday, at 10am, to provide further information.

Interested charities are welcome to join – they can RSVP to jennifer@wakatipucommunityfoundation.org.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz