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Impact 100 Grants Awarded For 2015

Rhonda Dollas

Ten non-profit organizations will receive $106,000 each, from the local group Impact 100. The grants were announced last weekend, and mark the group’s distribution of more than $7 million since its inception in 2003.

Impact 100 President Cindy Warren says the awards are in five focus areas: Arts and Culture; Education, Environment Recreation and Preservation, Family, and Health and Wellness.

“Each of those focus areas has a committee of members from Impact 100 who evaluate the grant applications,” says Warren. “They go on site visits to every organization that applies for a grant. They vet that application for sustainability, for financial viability, [and] for impact within the community.”

Depending on the number of members Impact has, the finalist – or finalists – are chosen out of that committee. The money will go towards community enrichment projects, such as one at Learn to Read of Northwest Florida. Its grant will fund a public awareness campaign.

“You can’t put out a bulletin that says ‘If you can’t read this, come see us,’” said Executive Director Manette Magera. “We intend to reach out to the entire community to let them know that, first of all, we exist. But also do some radio and TV advertising. That’s where they’re going to get their information is they’re not readers.”

In the Health and Wellness category, Bay Area Food Bank is a recipient. Executive Director Connie Whitaker says the money’s going towards a badly-needed expansion of their warehouse loading dock. One of the main reasons for the expansion, says Whitaker, is their Retail Store Pickup Program.

“We pick up food from 47 stores on a daily basis. These stores would donate even more to us, but right now we just can’t handle it,” said Whitaker.

Other recipients of $106,000 grants include: Ballet Pensacola, Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, Children’s Home Society of Florida, and Re-Entry Alliance Pensacola. As far as those not selected, Impact 100’s Cindy Warren says there’s always next year.

“We feel like the organizations learn something from the process every year,” Warren said. “Because several organizations have applied for several years, and then they ultimately won. Those are definitely eligible to reapply.”

This year’s winners are also eligible to apply in 2016, provided they’ve spent all of their 2015 award by the time next year’s grant application is due.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.