Impact America
1901 6TH AVE N STE 2400
BIRMINGHAM AL 35203-4604
Contact Information
Organization DBA (Doing Business As)
Organization DBA
Impact America - South Carolina
Address 1901 6TH AVE N STE 2400
BIRMINGHAM , AL 352034604
Telephone (205) 934-0664
Fax (205) 254-1999
Projected Annual Revenue $3,340,000.00 (2018)
Web and Social Media
AmeriCorps members conduct a free vision screening using a digital screening camera
Mission Statement

Impact America engages recent graduates and college students to address community needs, empowering a generation through collaborative efforts to promote change in the communities we serve. In order for our communities and institutions to thrive, we desperately need the talent, vitality, and perspective that only young people can bring. This generation of college students and recent graduates is among the most charitable in American history, with many yearning for an opportunity to make a real difference in communities of need. Impact provides that opportunity through distinct initiatives that promote change while cultivating leadership.

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Sarah Louise Smith
Board Chair Mr. Stephen F Black
Board Chair Company Affiliation The University of Alabama
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2004
Former Names
Impact: An Alabama Student Service Initiative2004
Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative2008
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Revenue vs Expenses Area Graph - All Years

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Impact America engages recent graduates and college students to address community needs, empowering a generation through collaborative efforts to promote change in the communities we serve. In order for our communities and institutions to thrive, we desperately need the talent, vitality, and perspective that only young people can bring. This generation of college students and recent graduates is among the most charitable in American history, with many yearning for an opportunity to make a real difference in communities of need. Impact provides that opportunity through distinct initiatives that promote change while cultivating leadership.


Impact America launched in 2014 as an expansion of the nationally recognized, highly successful nonprofit Impact Alabama, founded in 2004. Since 2004, Impact Alabama has engaged more than 8,800 students at more than 33 universities and colleges and 280 recent college graduates to serve more than 410,000 families across Alabama as part of the most successful, state-based service-learning initiative in the nation. Impact America currently operates in Alabama, Arkansas, northern Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Impact America – South Carolina began direct service in August 2015 by establishing two of Impact America’s signature initiatives in South Carolina: FocusFirst, a high-tech vision care initiative for low-income, preschool-age children; and SaveFirst, a free tax preparation initiative serving low-income, working families. In 2016-17, Impact America – South Carolina implemented a fully staffed program based in Greenville and as of July 2017, we are currently serving forty counties across the state.


In order for our communities and institutions to thrive, we desperately need the talent, vitality, and perspective that young people can bring. This generation of college students and recent graduates is among the most charitable in American history, with many yearning for an opportunity to make a real difference in communities of need. Impact America – South Carolina provides that opportunity through two distinct initiatives that promote change while cultivating leadership: FocusFirst, a high-tech vision care initiative for young children; and SaveFirst, a high-quality tax preparation initiative for working families. During the 2016-17 program year, FocusFirst provided free high-tech vision screenings for 12,351 children at 317 Head Starts and Daycare centers in Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Cherokee, Chester, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Edgefield, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lexington, Marion, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg, Union, Williamsburg, and York Counties. 1,229 children (9.95%) failed the screenings and were referred for subsidized follow-up care through Sight Savers America and local eye care providers. During the 2017 tax filing season, SaveFirst prepared tax returns for 723 working families at two free tax preparation sites in Orangeburg and Spartanburg, helping them claim nearly $800,000 in refunds and save over $280,000 in commercial tax preparation fees. During the 2017-18 year, we anticipate reaching the following goals: (1) providing free high-tech vision screenings for more than 15,000 children throughout South Carolina; (2) providing free tax preparation services to more than 900 low-income working families and individuals in the Orangeburg and Spartanburg areas.


1. Spot digital screening cameras ($7,000 each). Cameras are used to provide high-tech vision screenings for preschool-age children.

2. Support for transportation/gas costs. Developing relationships with new daycare centers requires a significant amount of outreach, and traveling statewide to conduct vision screenings requires a significant amount of car travel.
3. Talented college graduates. Our fundamental staffing model relies on recruiting talented, intelligent, and socially conscious recent college graduates for one or two years following graduation through the AmeriCorps program. We continue to seek out the most talented, exceptional young people to fill these positions.
4. Connections to organizations/businesses for tax preparation marketing. One challenge we face is reaching the thousands of taxpayers eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit who could benefit from our free tax preparation services and communicating the legitimacy of our free services.
5. Additional college student volunteers. Under the direct supervision of our Corps Members, students provide the workforce for our FocusFirst high-tech vision care initiative and our SaveFirst tax preparation initiative. We are always looking for more students and student groups to contribute their talents to our programs.
CEO/Executive Director Statement

The service-learning model, which intentionally coordinates service, curriculum, and time for reflection while maximizing the resources of colleges and universities, has enormous potential to provide a structural solution to many community needs. Studies have shown that while the current generation of college students – the millennial generation – is very charitably engaged and committed to volunteerism, they have less belief in the efficacy of traditional civic engagement and their ability to achieve significant structural changes to alleviate societal ills. However, combining student service in structured service-learning academic courses provides students with the opportunity to reflect upon their experience and think more critically about their role as active citizens. Many service-learning participants become much more aware of the structural problems that exist that create the need for their service, begin to think more critically about how their own actions can address these problems at a systemic level, and increase their sense of social responsibility to those populations adversely affected. Moreover, for some participants, service-learning will influence their career paths and affect the decisions they make and priorities they set as informed and active citizens—thus building a leadership force that has experience, perspective, and an affirmative sense of social responsibility toward those living in poverty in our nation.

Board Chair Statement

The university experience has the unique potential for shaping how students see the world and define their role in it. We at Impact America believe that considering and deliberately affecting this dimension of the higher education experience is both appropriate and necessary. Many universities are reluctant to address moral issues with students. They reason that morality is an inherently personal issue and that classroom activity should be restricted to discipline-specific subject matter. Such thinking, however, discounts the fundamental impact of higher education: extensive research confirms that universities inescapably influence students’ values and ethical development. Students arriving on campus seeking individual advancement should find themselves immersed in a community where academic skills are only one part of a deeper process of developing commitments to the common good. A college education should help students develop not only career skills but also a willingness—and even a desire—to take responsibility for the larger community. At the heart of ethical and socially responsible citizenship is a moral obligation to understand that every individual’s life has dignity and worth, and that every individual’s health, education, and potential is worth fighting for. Impact America works with universities to institutionalize curriculum-based service by implementing service-learning programs intentionally designed to promote student leadership and development.

Areas of Service
Beaufort County
Colleton County
Hampton County
Jasper County

Impact America – South Carolina provides free vision screenings to preschool-age children in childcare centers throughout forty Counties.

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Stephen F Black
Company Affiliation The University of Alabama
Term June 2004 to Dec 2099
Board of Directors
Ms. Russell Bannon BBVA Compass Bank
Mr. Bob Battle Battle & Winn
Mr. Stephen Black Impact America
Ms. Emily Gary Branum Command Alkon
Mr. Bryan Council Metro Monitor
Ms. Noelle Fleming-Collins Southern Nuclear
Mr. Philip L. Hodges REDMONT Venture Partners
Dr. Virginia Lolley UAB Department of Ophthalmology
Ms. Heidi Schoonover BB&T
Mr. Mitesh Shah Maynard Cooper and Gale, P.C.
Dr. Marjorie Lee White Children's Hospital
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 6
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Risk Management Provisions
Accident and Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional
Employee Dishonesty
General Property Coverage and Professional Liability
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director/CEO Ms. Sarah Louise Smith

Sarah Louise Smith, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, graduated cum laude from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in June 2006 with a B.A. in political economy. She received an MBA from The University of Alabama in May 2012. Sarah Louise currently serves as the Executive Director of Impact America, an award-winning nonprofit that engages recent graduates and college students the opportunity to participate in structured service projects designed to promote learning and leadership development. Prior to serving as Impact Alabama’s Executive Director, Sarah Louise served as the Administrative Director for Impact Alabama from July 2008 to February 2010 and SaveFirst Coordinator from July 2006 to February 2010.

Senior Staff
Ms. Channing Bethke National Program Director
Mr. John Gilmer Tennessee State Co-Director
Ms. Kyra Hanlon Tennessee State Co-Director
Ms. Rebekah McMahen Fiscal Officer
Ms. Kaitlin Nobles Development Director
Ms. Cameron Shevlin Alabama State Director
Ms. Stephanie Strickland Florida State Director
Ms. Sarah Jane Umsted South Carolina State Director
Full Time Staff 21
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 900
Contractors 73
Retention Rate 88%
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? No
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Diversity Policy
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Description FocusFirst provides a cost-effective direct response to the vision care needs of children who live in urban and rural communities. Impact America – South Carolina Corps Members provide free vision screenings to children, ages six months to five years, in Head Starts and daycares in low-income neighborhoods using high-tech digital screening cameras. All children failing the screenings receive comprehensive follow-up care from local eye care providers coordinated by Sight Savers America.

Throughout the year, FocusFirst Coordinators work with Head Start administrators and daycare directors to provide information regarding the program, schedule vision screenings, and inform staff of the benefits of early detection and referral for vision problems. Screenings generally take place during the academic year between August and May.
Budget $217,317.00
Short Term Success Children who fail the screening (est. 10%) are referred for follow-up care services (eye exams, glasses, surgery, vision aids, etc.) that correct and/or mitigate vision problems, improving vision health.
Long Term Success Children who had otherwise undiagnosed vision problems experience improved behavior and academic success in child care settings and have improved access to vision care so that they begin school with the best vision medically possible.
Program Success Monitored BY Spot (the digital cameras FocusFirst uses) provides an individual report for each child screened and summarizes the results by center in a spreadsheet format. With these reports, FocusFirst is able to quickly and accurately record and quantify the number of children screened and the number who failed the screenings, in addition to categorizing the children who fail the screenings according to potential eye disorders (i.e., hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism, anisometropia, gaze asymmetry, etc.). Furthermore, Sight Savers America prepares a summary report for all children who received vision aids, surgery, or other treatment.

SaveFirst trains and supervises college, graduate, and law students to offer free tax preparation services to low-income families, especially to those eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit refund. The SaveFirst Initiative ensures that low-income individuals receive the full Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits to which they are entitled. Free tax preparation yields immediate economic relief when these individuals do not pay commercial preparers for such services. SaveFirst also provides access to reputable tax preparers who ensure federal and state tax law compliance for all families served.

Budget $122,303.00
Short Term Success

All families served are able to file accurate income tax returns to ensure federal tax law compliance. Families served will realize immediate savings in commercial preparation fees due to free tax preparation services (improving their economic condition by approximately $400 per family). Families served will experience an improvement in their economic condition due to receipt of federal tax credits (EITC, CTC, child and dependent care credit, education credits).

Long Term Success

Low-income families who receive free tax preparation have increased economic security as a result of increased access to certified tax preparers and decreased use of costly commercial tax preparation services. As a result, low-income communities experience positive economic impacts, including increased job creation, economic output, and tax receipts for the local area.

Program Success Monitored BY In order to measure the efficacy of the SaveFirst program, the following statistics are compiled: number of families for which we completed a tax return, amount of tax dollars received (refunds, Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, etc.), amount in commercial preparation fees we saved working families, number of volunteers. We also follow up with individuals served, volunteers, and community partners to determine the quality of services provided and how best to improve the program.
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year 2018
Projected Revenue $3,340,000.00
Projected Expenses $3,310,889.00
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$605,855$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$0$1,368$182
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$77,620$146,079$52,451
Revenue In-Kind$40,322$23,045$22,837
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$1,693,763$1,322,728$1,202,816
Administration Expense$362,119$407,998$244,772
Fundraising Expense$75,089$77,070$66,118
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.131.091.03
Program Expense/Total Expenses79%73%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%4%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,032,340$901,503$553,546
Current Assets$822,809$681,889$527,636
Long-Term Liabilities$582$1,301$6,835
Current Liabilities$58,461$195,963$3,714
Total Net Assets$973,297$704,239$542,997
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities14.073.48142.07
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%1%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Registration Yes Nov 2018
Organization Comments

As the number of post-graduate opportunities grows, recruiting talented recent graduates becomes more and more challenging. We continue to focus not only on providing high-quality services for families, but also on developing a meaningful, professional service experience for our recent graduates.

Moreover, universities and colleges are taking more seriously their responsibility to make a difference in their local communities and providing more and more opportunities for their students to get involved in volunteer activities. It remains a challenge to recruit students to commit to longer-term projects that require extensive training and hard work over a sustained period of time. However, we believe that the story we are telling to young people about the value of the services we provide and the long-lasting benefits to the communities we serve will engage them in a sustained way.

One of the main programmatic challenges we face in every new community is communicating the legitimacy of our work to our beneficiaries. When contacting daycare directors to offer high-quality vision care at no charge, many are skeptical of this unsolicited phone call. Similarly, marketing a free tax service in low-income communities can also sometimes be viewed as a scam. To address this challenge, we consistently work to collaborate with new community partners who are trusted in their communities in order to legitimize our communications.

Nonprofit Impact America
Address 1901 6TH AVE N STE 2400
BIRMINGHAM , AL 352034604
Primary Phone (205) 934-0664
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Sarah Louise Smith
Board Chair Mr. Stephen F Black
Board Chair Company Affiliation The University of Alabama
Year of Incorporation 2004
Former Names
Impact: An Alabama Student Service Initiative
Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative