Claire Knopf: Beyond the Grant Member Spotlight

Meet Impact 100 Jersey Coast Member Claire Knopf

By Janet Mazur Cavano

Where do you live?

When it comes to philanthropy and service, your resume is beyond impressive! You’ve volunteered on multiple local organizations from chairing the Monmouth Medical Center Foundation to sitting on the board of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore and more. With all this on your plate and more, what on earth motivated you to join Impact 100 Jersey Coast in 2016?
I credit Bonnie Torcivia, a founding member of IMPACT 100 Jersey Coast, who was aware that I had been involved with several organizations in our community. She urged me to join. I was told that IMPACT 100 is a proven, credible, effective, national movement and how easy it is to simply write a check (the only requirement for membership) to affect change for a qualified non-profit organization.

Beside the ease of membership, what else do you find appealing about Impact?
I am definitely in favor of the prototype that invites all women to join and can volunteer on any committee she chooses or, not at all. That’s great – no one feels left out because all members are offered a position in the organization. There’s no “in crowd”. Everything is transparent.

What about Impact’s effect on the community?
I was aware of the needs in our community; or so I thought. I know of many organizations; or so I thought. When I attend an IMPACT meeting, I learn about organizations I know nothing about. Applications are open to all non-profits at the Jersey Shore and the grants really do affect peoples’ lives. All the funds go directly to the grants.

What drives you to be so active in philanthropy and service?
As a child I learned that service is important. Many of my extended family have been involved in their community; one a Councilman; another the son of a mayor of a large city. My family history of cancer also drives me. Having experienced my grandmother, mother, and father dying young from various cancers, and having an aunt and four cousins as survivors, I knew I needed to help.

Tell us about your favorite Impact memory or success story.
I am so impressed with how Impact reacted to COVID-19 – the fact that every member was asked in a timely and diplomatic way to contribute (to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund). It was done seamlessly and successfully.

What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received?
Upon my college graduation, which my father did not live to see, my uncle told me, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” (Seneca the Younger, b. 65 AD).
For me, this really ties into education. It’s so important that children are educated and have access to health care and quality food.

What is your superpower?
I don’t have a super power (laughs). I’m honest. I have integrity. I have compassion. I have the ability to motivate. I also treat each challenge as if it were a for-profit organization and in a professional manner.

How are you managing during quarantine?
I’ve had 13 people living in my house since March! The house looks like a coworking space with everyone working in their own corner. We’ve learned not to pressure each other to be together all the time; everyone needs their own space. Everybody is healthy — that’s what’s most important.

Claire and her husband, Woody Knopf, have three grown children.

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