“It gives me the opportunity to work with some brilliant, bright women,” she explained. “Just brilliant women.”
The women of IMPACT aren’t just “brilliant.” They’re also charitable.
IMPACT 100 is an organization for women looking to make a contribution to the community. Each member pays in $1,000 annually. That money is then put toward several grants to area non-profits.
“We’ve funded big organizations, we’ve funded small organizations that people would have probably never heard of if they hadn’t been in IMPACT,” said Vice President Cyndi Warren.
Over the past 10 years, the organization has awarded over $5 million in grants throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. This year IMPACT has 836 members, which equates to $836,000 in grants being distributed in the community; grants are awarded in increments of at least $100,000.
The group focuses on various aspects of the community. It considers non-profits geared toward the arts and culture, education, environment and preservation, families and health. Non-profits may apply for the funds, and grants are announced each year in the fall.
One thing that IMPACT members look for when deciding which groups will be getting grants is sustainability.
“We have to be convinced that this is going to be an ongoing thing,” Warren said. “How is it going to support itself?”
Early on, IMPACT awarded a grant to help build a “ReStore,” which allows new and used building materials, appliances and household goods—all donated from businesses and individuals—to be sold with the proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity. Thus far, the program has diverted more than 1,800 tons from the landfill.
Last year, an IMPACT grant allowed Milk and Honey Outreach Ministries to purchase two mini-buses. The buses support that non-profit’s efforts to provide early intervention programs for at-risk children. Also in 2012, the Escambia Search and Rescue was awarded a grant that funded the purchase of technologically advanced equipment needed for recovery efforts.
ARC Gateway, an organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities, has benefited several times from IMPACT grants. In 2005, the non-profit received a grant that was used to further ARC’s employment-training efforts. In 2008, another grant allowed ARC to create a shredding program that generates revenues and employees more than 40 adults. In 2011, IMPACT awarded ARC a grant that enabled the organization to improve its operations via technology.
“We help them do things they could never do on their own,” Warren said.
IMPACT 100 does not have any paid staff. That ensures that 100 percent of its members’ contributions go toward the grants.
In addition to the non-profits that benefit from IMPACT’s grants, Warren feels that members of the charitable organization also benefit from their involvement.
“Especially in these economic times, I think people get a great deal of satisfaction in giving,” Warren said.
Published by Independent News (inweekly.net) on June 13, 2013.
View PDF of scanned article: Independent News – 06132013