The members of Impact100 of Northwest Florida voted yesterday the grant recipients for 2021 - awarding four (4) $104,500 grants. At its Nov. 7 Annual Meeting, Impact100 NWF members viewed video presentations from each of the grant finalists and voted for this year's grant recipients. The grant recipients were selected from the following five categories: Arts & Culture; Education; Environment, Recreation and Preservation; Family; and Health and Wellness. Since its conception in 2012, Impact100 NWF has now awarded 3.6 million dollars to nonprofits in Okaloosa and Walton counties.
The following grant recipients will be awarded $104,500 each to be used towards the betterment of their cause:
United for a Good Cause
Project Title: Hope Squad Peer-to-Peer Prevention Expansion
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among kids 10-18. There were 36 youth suicides ages 10-24 between Okaloosa and Walton Counties in 2015-2019…36! Our kids are struggling and dying at alarming rates! The goal of United for a Good Cause is to save our kids by having a Hope Squad Peer-to-Peer Suicide Prevention Program in every school in our region from Escambia to Walton Counties. Your Impact 100 Grant will cover the investment into the curriculum fees ($6,000 for high, $5400 for middle and $3000 for elementary schools) and Advisor certification training ($500 each) in every middle and high school not already funded, and every elementary school in both Counties….about 30 schools.
When we save a child from death by suicide, we’re saving that child’s family, friends, & surrounding community from a lifetime of grief & heartache. This is long-term sustainability. The program literally changes the culture of the school to one of kindness and connectedness over time with constant messages of hope and love being spread. Your contribution will help save over 51,000 students!
Your dollars will support over 51,000 students in both Okaloosa & Walton Counties and that doesn’t cover the thousands of teachers and admin. Or families and friends! Once implemented in a school we will see the reporting numbers go up. This means students are speaking up to help save a peer. We will be able to track reporting data and we will begin to see a decrease in the number of suicides.
What is the value of a child’s life? This is the most sustainable project there could be. If a child’s life is saved, that child grows up, gets married, has children who become contributing adults, marry, have kids, etc. It’s a lifetime of generational sustainability all for your one-time investment. The fees your donation covers will never have to be paid again and schools continue on for years!
ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION & PRESERVATION
Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
Project Title: New Clinic Medial Equipment
Our goal is to reopen the only low-cost animal clinic in Okaloosa/Walton counties; provide diagnostics and surgery for injured animals and reduce the unwanted/unhealthy animal populations. To do this we need equipment. Your investment will quickly restore on-site medical access for abused/abandoned shelter animals (7k+ annually) and serve the public need for locally accessible and affordable vet care. We will reduce pet populations (domestic and feral) through more than 30k annual spay/neuter surgeries. Reopening our clinic with new equipment will also generate more than 6x our most profitable FY in business, allowing us to invest in our new community clinic planned for 2022-23.
Citizens/Rescues travel to Panama City or AL for affordable/available spay/neuter
surgeries. 12+ hour transport drains resources and is extremely stressful for animals. Problem solved; reopen only low-cost clinic in two-counties, stop fast-growing unhealthy/unwanted pet population, reduce backlog of animals waiting for adoption (require surgery), increase annual public surgeries from 200 to 30k.
Large group/High impact: Public health/safety for 300k+ citizens and 150k+ pets and feral cats in two counties. Demographics include low-income families who otherwise cannot afford medical care, and vulnerable/sick animals who are not vaccinated or altered. Success measured by reduced and healthier population, and increased adoptions data collected at our shelter IAW FL state statutes.
Clinic has 20yr history/$200k annual profit using old equipment and semi-retired vet. New/additional equipment allows vet to perform at 6x rate + offer more clinic services.
Additional net gain from saving expense of using outside clinics that the grant will allow us to do on-site, plus revenue from new public services that will be used for clinic to be built on donated land in 2022.
Fresh Start for Children and Families
Project Title: Sell More = Help More ~ Fresh Start Takes Aim at More Capacity
Fresh Start is a housing/education program for families with children who are homeless. Our clients come from all walks of life, face many problems including abuse, divorce, generational poverty and more. We provide a furnished apartment, food pantry, weekly life skills classes, 1 on 1 budgeting, and goal meetings. Repeat Street is our thrift store. It provides the furnishings for our clients, and over 50% of our program funding. Our current truck/trailer combo used for donation pick up and deliveries to our apartments is 18 years old, in the shop often, and must be unloaded multiple times per day. This project is to purchase a box truck with lift, which would increase our capacity.
Our store is a revenue source covering over 50% of our bills, furnishes our apartments, w/ 2 employees & volunteers. It is well supported by donors, condos, businesses. A dependable truck would save money on repairs, increase funds with less trips to unload, less pickups missed & appear more professional. More capacity, more self-sufficiency = serve more & serve them more effectively.
We are the only local agency that works to correct problems that led to homelessness by providing a home and educating our clients in areas they need. We receive no government funds. The families who graduate our program leave self-sufficient, with a savings, feeling pride many never knew. The Impact 100 truck will be highly visible, advertising both Impact and Fresh Start in the area.
All parts of this project are already in place thus it is sustainable. We will be making
ourselves stronger, more self-sufficient, and more professional. Maintenance, insurance, gas and driver, all in operation. In fact, this truck will save us money, and be continue making an impact for us for the next 18 years if possible, like the one we are retiring.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Sharing and Caring of Okaloosa County
Project Title: Building Expansion
We desperately need a facility expansion and renovation!!! Since, 1990, we have operated our food pantry in our small 1,485 sq ft building using our tiny pantry of 409 sq ft. This year, we finally saved enough to purchase this building.
Our 960 sq ft expansion will extend our rectangular building by 30’. It will:
more than double our pantry for food storage and cooling equipment
add prescription interviewer room
increase our reception lobby by 75%
make our entrance, walkways, and client restroom more functional and handicap compliant
Our ultimate health goals are:
Increase food menu and toiletries
Expand prescription voucher program throughout Okaloosa County
Our mission is to improve the health and independency of our clients by providing nutritious food, personal care items, and medicine vouchers. This facility expansion grant will provide space for greater client food variety. Plus, we will expand our partnerships with Shelter House, Fresh Start, and other agencies to synergize the local transformational movement. The key is working together.
This year, S&C supported thousands of clients from all south Okaloosa County towns—including Eglin AFB with:
• Groceries (5,897 clients)
• 579 lunch bags
• personal care items (5,591 clients)
• 324 prescription vouchers.
This expansion will enable us to double the number of clients supported to all demographics with our outreach products. Project success will be measured by client participation.
From hurricanes, economic downturns, and COVID-19, S&C has been a steadfast food pantry for the needy. Our project is sustainable because:
• Generous and sustained support (36 years) from individuals, businesses, churches, and the United Way
• No payroll costs
• A $20,000 gift pledged for expenses over your grant
Bottomline: Your grant will posture S&C for fulfilling local needs in the future.
For additional information about Impact100 NWF or to join the organization, please go to www.impactnwf.org
. The website provides an overview of Impact100 NWF and features our grant recipients from 2012 to 2020 highlighting the successful community outreach and the services provided to Okaloosa and Walton Counties.