Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday October 18th 2017

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The Impact of IMPACT

By Rick Outzen

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area last week announced the 15 grant finalists selected for 2017. Ten of the finalists each will receive a grant of $107,700 at the IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area’s Annual Meeting on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Meri Asmar, President of IMPACT 100, explained the categories. “Our five focus areas are arts and culture, education, family, environment/recreation, and preservation, and health and wellness,” she told Inweekly. “There are three in each category, and we will award 10 grants, so there will be two recipients of the three finalists in each of these focused areas.”

She is impressed with the list.  Asmar said, “We’ve got a couple that are disaster-related, so that was very timely with those particular proposals, and so we’ve got a really good mix of 15 very strong finalists.”

The finalists went through an extensive review process. Organizations that fail to make the cut still benefit from the exposure.

“We like to call it “the impact of IMPACT” because our ladies do go out and conduct site visits, they come back to their committees and provide reports, they review the grants in great detail,” said Asmar. “A lot of these women are very impressed with these organizations, and whether they end up as finalists or not, they go back and they’ll donate resources, they’ll donate their time, they’ll volunteer.”

She added, “Our applicants can submit wish lists and so our ladies, around the holidays, are very generous in giving to those organizations that they’ve learned more about. Whether they’re a finalist or not, it’s certainly a benefit to them to go through our process.”

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area has 1,077 members, who have each contributed $1000 for this year’s grants. When it was formed in 2004 under the leadership of Carolyn Appleyard, Belle Bear, Joan Bullock, Evon Emerson and Debbie Ritchie, IMPACT 100 had 233 members. The goal was to create a high-impact non-profit by pooling the donations and make substantial grants that could help those serving the community.

IMPACT pays no salaries, has little overhead and depends on a working board comprised completely of volunteers who make a personal time commitment to the organization.

“We are in our 14th year of funding grants and on Oct. 15, we’ll give away $1,077,000,” said Asmar. “After 14 years of giving, we will have given away a total of $9,395,000 to nonprofits in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.”

At the Oct. 15 annual meeting, each finalist will give a five-minute presentation on their project before the vote.

“Our members will be there to vote in person or they have the option of voting absentee, ahead of time, online,” said Asmar. “We bring in David Stafford, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections from Escambia County, as well as Tappie Villane, the Supervisor for Santa Rosa County. They bring in their voting machines, and it’s all official balloting, and we have the winners just about an hour after our women vote, and we announce them that very day.”

Asmar had words of encouragement for those organizations that aren’t awarded grants this year.

“If they don’t have other funding sources, then they’re going to come back year after year,” she said. “That’s what we like about our process because they learn, their grants improve, and by the next year they could be an even better candidate than in the year prior.”

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IMPACT 100 PENSACOLA BAY AREA 2017 GRANT FINALISTS

ARTS & CULTURE
Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society, Inc.
Project: Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society Historical Center

Pensacola Delta Enrichment Center, Inc.
Project: Young, Gifted, and Underprivileged – Warrington Arts Development Project

West Florida Historic Preservation
Project: History and Storytelling Circle

EDUCATION
Capstone Adaptive Learning and Therapy Centers, Inc.
Project: Capstone Pet Place

Escambia County Public Schools Foundation for Excellence, Inc.
Project: Swim, Soar, and Fly Into Science! Inspiring Hands-on Exploration of Our Natural World

Escambia County School Readiness Coalition, Inc.
Project: Grow with Me

FAMILY
Horizons of Okaloosa County, Inc.
Project: IMPACT 100 Dream Wheels For New Beginnings

My Father’s Arrows, Inc.
Project: Mama’s House

Young Men’s Christian Association of Northwest Florida, Inc.
Project: The Wheels on the Bus

ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION & PRESERVATION
Humane Society of Pensacola, Inc.
Project: The Humane Express

Mother Wit Institute, Inc.
Project: Save the Ella L. Jordan Home – A Historic Place

Pensacola Lighthouse Association, Inc.
Project: Fresnel Lens Restoration

HEALTH & WELLNESS
Community Organizations Active in Disasters, Inc.
Project: BRACED and Ready to Roll

Feeding the Gulf Coast, Inc.
Project: Serving the Community During Disasters

Santa Rosa Kids’ House, Inc.
Project: Changing for Children