An Update From 2019 President, Tonya Wildfong

An Update From 2019 President, Tonya Wildfong

Inspired. Humbled. Grateful. That and many more emotions come forward every time I think about Impact 100 TC! Your dedication to making our community better is truly transformational! Whether you joined to actively review grants or simply vote at the annual meeting, wanted to meet like-minded, strong women or be a part of transformational change by pooling resources – together – we are making a difference. Thank You for making it possible!

We have an iConnect event June 19 at Inland Seas, a grant recipient from our first year in 2017. We hope you are able to join us. Remember no guilt, just invitation. A public event in July for those wanting to join and interested in learning more about Impact 100 TC and another iConnect event at Peace Ranch (our second 2017 grant recipient) on August 13.

Speaking of grants, we are in our grant review process. Many Women. One Mission! The work is being done one meeting at a time. For those not participating on a committee this year, rest assured thoughtful consideration is happening. Grants held their non-profit training in March, committee training in April, and grant review started in May. Financial review of the grant applications will occur in June and July, with site visits in August.

Mark your calendar now for September 17, 2019 at the TC Golf & Country Club. The five finalists will be announced after the rigorous review process. We hear repeatedly from the grant review committee members that learning about non-profits that they may not have known about previously is such an inspirational part of the process. We have also received feedback from the non-profits and committee members about the grant process. Is there a way to fund the non-profits in a more efficient manner from the initial grant application to annual meeting and grant implementation? We are reviewing our options. Possibly move up the Annual Meeting for the 2020 grant cycle. After less than three years of operation – and achieving great things – we are also dedicated to continuously improving.

There are many more members working tirelessly behind the scenes to send emails and social media posts, arrange welcome calls and iConnect events, coordinate finances, data entry information, find sponsorship funds from Friends of Impact who believe in the mission, and plan the annual meeting where we will gather together to celebrate. Thank you for making it possible!

Remember, we are only as strong as our members and as transformational as the non-profits that apply. Tell a friend about Impact 100 TC and remind your local non-profit to apply for a grant. Many Women. One Mission.

Talk More Soon,

Tonya Wildfong

Impact 100 TC
 2019 President

We Awarded $247,000 in 2018!

We Awarded $247,000 in 2018!

Our 2018 Grant Recipients:

Communities in Schools

Communities in Schools (CIS) will continue helping at-risk high school students stay in school by addressing both academic and nonacademic barriers to their success. Their 2018 Impact100 TC grant will help create a feeder school pattern for the CIS model to be implemented in several area school districts, including Kalkaska Public Schools, Central Lake Public Schools, Suttons Bay Public Schools, and Forest Area Community Schools.

Addiction Treatment Services

Addiction Treatment Services will expand their newest program, PORCH (Providing Opportunities for Recovery and Community Health) – a program that will be Michigan’s first community-based effort to address the opioid crisis with a comprehensive, evidence-based, multi-systemic strategy. PORCH aims to provide same-day assessments for those seeking help with addiction, bypassing the normal 2-3 week waiting period. ATS will use the grant funding to hire three PORCH employees and to provide educational resources to employers, schools, and other community groups.

Rove Estate Vineyard iConnect

Rove Estate Vineyard iConnect

The weather could not have been more beautiful for the iConnect event at Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery. Impact 100 members gathered to take in the beautiful view, share a glass of wine, and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded women.  In the spirit of getting to know one another, we’d like to feature two of our members here.

iConnect Impact 100 TC - Rove Winery

Impact 100 TC Members enjoying our August event!

Blythe Skarshaug signed on with Impact 100 because she was attracted to the concept of combining donations in order to have a greater impact in the community.  Blythe also looks forward to getting to know more people in the area.  She and her husband own Copy Central in Traverse City.  “We can do every kind of copying that you could ever need,” she said. “We also own Traverse Reproduction, where we make outdoor signs and blueprints.”  Blythe will be replacing Kat Paye this year as the Major Member Events Chair.

Impact 100 TC iConnect - Rove Vineyards

The Women of Impact 100 TC Show Up Strong!

Julie Brons considers herself to be a member of the Fun and Games committee, where she helps organize the “non-event events.”  Julie believes the iConnect events are an important way for members to get to know one another outside of Impact’s three more formal, major events.  Julie said, “It’s so important for a new member just joining the organization to have a contact person who can help them understand the history and the culture of Impact 100.” Like Blythe, Julie was inspired to join the group because she felt that her $1,000 donation would have a much deeper impact when combined with other donations. Julie is a Chiropractor and Nutritional Counselor at Performance Chiropractic.

Stay tuned to the Impact 100 TC Facebook page for upcoming iConnect dates!

Inland Seas Education Association Utopia Update

Inland Seas Education Association Utopia Update

By: Fred Sitkins, Executive Director

Inland Seas Education Association was very excited to receive the Impact 100 TC grant in 2017. We began work on the schooner Utopia immediately in anticipation of having her ready for final Coast Guard inspection in Fall 2018. But like any renovation of a seventy-year-old asset, it did not run as smoothly as expected.

It is rare that a project of this kind of undertaking can be pulled off without some hiccups. Inland Seas has spent most of the winter dealing with a variety of hiccups, causing the first phase of the Utopia retrofit to take much longer than anticipated. Our winter was spent doing demolition work to gain access to the underwater portion of the hull needing repair. These pictures show the results of some of that demolition. Unfortunately, the further we dug the more areas we identified for repair.

This expanded work, combined with an untimely knee replacement surgery and a broken ankle on the two welders originally dedicated to this project, have exasperated the delay. We have hired a new welder to begin the steel repairs, but because we are so far behind schedule Utopia has to be moved to a different location in the marina lot so she doesn’t interfere with the launching of other boats. This must be done before further work can be completed. The latest round of snow has delayed that move.

With all of that said, we expect to shift our attention from demolition to repair within the next couple of weeks. Our welder is ready, the shipwrights performing the wood repairs are ready, and the weather is improving. While we are a little behind schedule we are still confident that the needed repairs will be completed and the boat put back in the water in August. This unfortunately affects any summer programming we had hoped to schedule on the ship, but if all goes well, she will be ready to welcome students aboard in the fall for dockside programs. We will continue the steps to seek a Coast Guard license to carry passengers for Utopia as soon as all repairs are made.

The difficulties we have encountered with this major project would have been insurmountable without the funding we received through the Impact 100 TC grant. This grant, the assistance of our dedicated volunteers, and the tolerance of Irish Boat Shop through it all have continued to push us through every hiccup we’ve come upon.

PEACE Ranch breaks ground on Experiential Therapy Center

PEACE Ranch breaks ground on Experiential Therapy Center

By: Hannah Bouwmeester, Impact 100 TC

Nestled back on Hoosier Valley road in Traverse City is a tranquil farm appropriately named “PEACE Ranch.” At first glance, it resembles a regular farm; horses, outbuildings, and gardens.  However, it is so much more than that. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Jackie Kaschel, executive director, and learn about PEACE Ranch, one of Impact 100 TC’s 2017 grant recipients.

PEACE Ranch is home to 17 unique rescue horses, most of whom have suffered some sort of abuse or neglect and were difficult to place. These horses act as “therapists,” helping those who also are struggling with the effects of trauma in their own lives. Sound crazy? Don’t be so quick to judge. In 2010, President Obama allocated funds to provide Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) to veterans, and according to Psychology Today, it is “undoubtedly on its way to becoming the new “must do” form of healing” (

Jackie explained that unlike dogs or cats, horses are powerful prey animals. Naturally predisposed to read emotions and body language, horses are non-judgmental. Individuals receiving EAP benefit from increased confidence, mindfulness, connectedness, and more. PEACE Ranch offers therapy to people from all walks of life, but often are working with children and veterans. One veteran in particular went from being a suicidal recluse to becoming a state-certified Peer Support Specialist. Because of PEACE Ranch, there are many stories like his to tell.

PEACE Ranch was awarded the Impact 100 Grant in 2017, and with it came big plans. Jackie (in collaboration with Child & Family Services of Northwest Michigan) is working on developing the very first Experiential Therapy Center integrating Art, Music, and EAP. They recently broke ground on the project and construction of the center should be completed in June. A multidisciplinary team is being assembled and trained at PEACE Ranch, and with the new training and programming being rolled out this year, they should be able to serve twice as many children and families as last year. Currently, PEACH Ranch offers regular classes and events including “Hug and Groom” and Herd Meditation. 400 words just doesn’t do EAP or the ranch justice, but I will say that as someone who has suffered from childhood trauma, I was surprised at how emotional and moving this experience was. If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma in their life, please visit or call 231-499-4736 for more information.