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The Idea is Very Simple!

01/06/2014 01:05PM ● Published by Nancy Babin


100+ women contributing $1,000 each, creating a $100,000 grant to fund a community need.

That was the idea started in Pensacola several years ago and was noticed by a group of women in Okaloosa and Walton Counties in 2011. Thinking that the same thing could be utilized to help nonprofits in Okaloosa and Walton Counties, IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida was born.

The basic idea of the IMPACT 100 organization is to empower individual women to make a big IMPACT in their community by transforming individual membership dues into a single powerful unit. A minimum of 100 women would each give $1,000, thereby forming a $100,000 grant to fund a community need.

In 2012, the first year the group was formed, 128 women joined IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida. In order to determine the community need to be funded with the resulting $128,000.00, community nonprofits were encouraged to “think big” and submit a grant application.

The grant applications were to be submitted in one of five categories: Arts & Culture; Education; Environment; Family; and Health & Wellness. That first year over 30 grant applications were submitted. The members formed focus areas for each category and then performed site visits and carefully evaluated each aspect of the proposed use of the grant funds. Each focus area committee then chose the one finalist nonprofit applicant in each category.

At an annual meeting the finalist in each category presented a five-minute presentation to the membership. After consideration of each, the members voted and the first year the grant of $128,000.00 was awarded to the Judge Ben Gordon Jr. Family Visitation Center. The money went to establish a supervised visitation center in North Okaloosa County for troubled families.

It was a huge success, and this past year in 2013 the group expanded to 220 members. As a result it was decided that two grants would be awarded for $110,000 each. The same process was followed with regard to submitting grant applications and focus groups and at the annual meeting on November 17, 2013, two nonprofits were selected to each receive a $110,000 grant.

IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida 2013 grant recipient Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge will use the grant funds to create a medical and rehabilitation facility for injured and orphaned wild animals.

IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida 2013 grant recipient Destin Harvest, Inc. will use the grant to expand their ability to collect and distribute food to the needy in the community by using the grant funds to purchase refrigerated food trucks and enhance food storage facilities throughout both Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

However, the IMPACT of the organization extends much farther than the grant winners. 220 women in the community have become more informed and involved in the needs that surround us. Various grant applicants have benefitted indirectly by the awareness that is raised in all the members and by the experience of applying for the grants.

IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida spends no money on overhead, administrative costs or advertising. 100% of every woman’s $1,000.00 membership dues is part of the grant. In order to handle the necessary administrative costs, the organization depends on “Friends of IMPACT” who make donations specifically to handle such costs.

Membership enrollment is now open for IMPACT 2014 and is open to any woman who wishes to join in on strengthening our community in some way. One of the ways women can find out more about the organization is at a Membership Event. The events are scheduled as follows:

Destin -    January 16, Thursday, 5-7 pm, Kelly Plantation Golf Club

Hostesses:  Christine Carter, Alex Brown, Jodee Hart

South Walton - January 26, Sunday, 2-4 pm, Home of Steve and Lynn Dugas.   Hostesses: Lynn Dugas, Yvonne Freeman, Jessica Profitt

Ft. Walton Beach - January 29, Wednesday, 5-7 pm, Clemenza's Restaurant

Hostesses:  Michelle Anchors, Ginny Barr and Linda Randes

Crestview - February 10, Monday, 6:00 pm, Wild Olive Restaurant  

Hostesses:  Della Goodson, Brandi Terrell, Sherry Ensor, Beverly Rogers

Niceville - February 20, Thursday, 5-7 pm, 120 Bistro Restaurant

 Hostesses:  Sandy Sims, Judy Byrne Riley, Tracy Wood

DeFuniak Springs - March 27, Thursday, 5-7, 2331 County Highway 280E.  Hostess: Kim Kirby

It is not necessary to attend an event to join. If you are unable to attend an event, but would like to join or learn more, please contact Sandy Sims at (850) 376-8440, Kim Kirby at (850) 333-1771, Michelle Anchors at (850) 585-8255 or email IMPACT 100 also invites you to visit their website at and to “Like” us on Facebook.

The mission of IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida, Inc. is to financially support non-profit organizations in Northwest Florida by empowering women as philanthropists and leaders, by bridging the geographic areas of our region, and by leveraging the talents of women to be a positive force for good in our communities.

Or, as said by the first IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida President Michelle Anchors: “We do a lot of good with very little fuss.”

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