Editorial: In depressing 2020, IMPACT 100 remains source of strength, inspiration

Editorial Board

Pensacola News Journal

Published 6:00 a.m. CT Oct. 17, 2020

 

In a year that already exists in people’s memories as a depressing and dizzying span of months that can’t get over fast enough, the latest feat of charitable giving from IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area is a reminder that some things are too good to be beaten by the curse of 2020.

The philanthropic organization recently announced this year’s recipients of awards totaling nearly $1.17 million in charitable giving. The gifts will go to worthy projects at a number of area nonprofits focusing on work in a variety of categories, including the arts, environmental causes, education, health and more. The annual gifts have become game changers for many hardworking organizations that often have missions and needs that outsize available funding.

That’s where IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area has stepped in. Since the local chapter’s founding by local CEO Debbie Ritchie and a small group of local women in 2003, it has grown to be the largest IMPACT group in the world. The latest batch of awards bring the group’s 17-year total giving to more than $12,830,000.

It is a powerhouse among philanthropies and a model for all charitable organizations to aspire to. The group has no staff and no overhead. It is totally volunteer-driven, which means that 100% of member contributions go directly to the most worthy projects in the community. From brick and mortar expansions to kitchen-renovations that help feed the hungry to enhancements for Pensacola world class performing arts organizations, the impacts if IMPACT 100 are everywhere.

The group’s model is simple. Each member donates $1,000 annually. The initial goal was to get 100 women to combine for a $100,000 gift capable of lending a significant boost to a local project.

In 2004, the group’s inaugural membership class was 233 women. In the years since, the women of the Pensacola Bay Area have stepped up big time, growing IMPACT 100 to 1,166 members in 2019 whose combined donations are currently sending checks for $106,000 to 11 area nonprofits.

Our community is incredibly fortunate to have this inimitable group of women. Their years of giving have shaped and improved the place we call home in countless ways and they show no signs of slowing down.

In a year that has piled hurricanes on top of pandemics, IMPACT 100 is an extraordinary gift to our community and a source of strength and inspiration for better days ahead.

For information about IMPACT 100 or to find out how you can join, go to impact100pensacola.org.