IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida donated a total of $514,000 in grant funding to local nonprofit organizations.
Five of nine finalists received the good news during a ceremony held Sunday at Resurrection Catholic Church. Each of the winning nonprofits serves within Okaloosa or Walton counties and will receive $102,800.
The local woman's philanthropy group of 514 members was founded in 2012. This was the first year that the local chapter was able to fully fund a grant in each of the five categories: arts and culture, education, environmental, family and health and recreation.
"One-hundred percent of what the women give of their $1,000 (annual membership fee) goes to the nonprofit," said Lisa Jo Spencer, the group's president.
To date, the local chapter has donated $2.2 million, and Susan Page, board of directors chairwoman, said they plan to continue to expand.
"We grow every year, which I am thrilled to hit the 500 (member) mark, that's been a goal for awhile," Page said, who shared their original concept was to gather 100 women, each donating $1,000 to be granted into their community. "We hope to get to a thousand members, that'd be lovely."
Below are the five winning organizations and the projects that will be supported from the grants.
Sinfonia, a group committed to entertaining and educating the community, will use the money to purchase up to three instruments for the band programs of each public middle school in Okaloosa and Walton counties, along with funding visits from Sinfonia musicians for the remainder of this school year and the next to teach lessons.
Youth Village, an organization offering after-school programs for children, will construct a building to provide more space for the children in the program. Currently, the Youth Village works with students from kindergarten through eighth grade, but will also be aiding preschoolers.
One Hopeful Place
One Hopeful Place, an organization fighting homelessness, will complete the construction of its Phase II building, which will house homeless men. The Phase I building will then serve as the first single women's shelter in Okaloosa County.
Okaloosa AIDS Support & Informational Services, an AIDS service organization, plans to purchase an RV to use as a state-of-the-art mobile HIV testing and education unit.
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park will combine the grant with other funding to complete the first step in developing a C.A.R.E center. The center will be used to rehabilitate rescued sea turtles, along with educating guests on conservation programs.