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Impact 100 to have 3 winners

(Week of March 24, 2011)

More than 45 letters of intent became 24 grant applications – and in turn last week those 24 were reduced to six finalists that will share a total of $348,000 in Indian River (IR) Impact 100 grants this year.

The top three winners will receive $100,000 each, according to IR Impact 100 President Laura McDermott – and for the first time, finalists who are not among the winning top three will split the remaining $48,000.

 “Thus ensuring that every non-profit will walk away with some funds,” McDermott said, adding: “all Impact members will come together at the annual meeting April 11 to hear the finalist’s presentations and to vote for their choices to win.”

Impact 100 is a national non-profit organization comprised of women who want to make a difference by donating $1000. Begun in the Cincinnati, OH area in 2001, Impact 100 now has groups in 13 states, and since 2001 has given more than $12 million nationwide to local non-profit groups.

According to McDermott, the local IMPACT 100 is specifically committed to community improvement by providing what she called “transformational grants” to area non-profit organizations.

She noted that IMPACT 100 has as one of its primary assessment rules that giving a non-profit a grant must accomplish more than just “sustain” that non-profit. In turn, she defined a transformational grant as one that causes an organization to “change the way it operates, or creates a new opportunity” for the group.

By 2010, IMPACT 100 membership locally had grown to 232 women and two grants of $116,000 each were awarded to Childcare Resources’ Education Center Infant Suite (Education) and Harvest Food and Outreach Center’s Hunger Relief Program (Health and Wellness)

McDermott said many factors are involved in the group’s success, but she feels the most important of those reasons include:

∙ Giving women the opportunity to pool resources to participate in a level of grant making that alone they would likely be unable to achieve.

∙ Giving every woman a vote in the final grant awards.

∙ Applying 100 percent of every membership dollar directly to the grant awards.

∙ Reaching out to women from a variety of communities, backgrounds and beliefs.

This year’s six finalists are:

∙ Hibiscus Children’s Center: Its intended program would create a model to support a youth’s transition by promoting continuing education, career pathways and financial skills, as well as employment internships and job shadowing opportunities. Intended participants are those 15 through 17 years of age residing at the Hibiscus Children’s Village, a group living facility for up to 72 children removed from homes due to abuse and or neglect. Partners in the grant proposal include: Indian River State College, Workforce Solution, Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, Indian River County Sheriff’s Department, PNC Bank, Treasure Coast Builders Association and the Vero-Treasure Coast Kiwanis Club.

∙ Senior Resource Association:  It would contract with a professional research consultant, through a competitive bidding process, to work with the community stakeholders to develop a comprehensive needs assessment of older adults in Indian River County.  This survey would utilize the latest techniques designed to gain the information needed. Seventeen non-profit agencies have agreed to be on the steering committee and have offered in-kind resources.

∙ Treasure Coast Community Health: As the only provider of adult dental services for those with limited resources, Treasure Coast Community Health (TCCH) has assisted over 5,000 people with better oral health in 2010 through preventative and restorative measures.  The grant would allow TCCH to upgrade its original dental site in Fellsmere to the same technology used commonly by other dentists, such as digital x-rays and an integrated electronic dental record.

∙ The Learning Alliance: Founded in 2009 by three parents of learning challenged children, this group has already established three pilot programs, and now proposes the next phase of implementation of its evidence-based literacy curriculum. In partnership with the Indian River School District, it would train 30 teachers and three master teachers to provide daily instruction to 540 kindergarten and first grade students at Highlands, Vero Beach, and Pelican Island Elementary Schools.  Goals include increasing literacy (Locally, 24 per cent of third graders and 43 per cent of eighth graders are not proficient in reading, based on FCAT scores); provide necessary tools to make every teacher a great teacher; break the cycle of poverty by having every child literacy proficient; have the county become a center of innovation for teaching and learning. The program would be transformational because teachers would be trained and a master coach would be trained at each school to continually train new teachers.

∙ The Education Foundation: This grant would be for the new Vero Beach Elementary school (VBE), a model green school that would serve as a proto-type for other school districts. The grant would fund the tools to empower students and families to generate sustainable food and energy resources. Grant funds would build/purchase the following: hydroponics and raised gardens, nutrition kitchen, potting shed, windmill, short well and stationary bicycles to pump the well and generate electricity. The grant would reduce student obesity, ADHD, asthma and student/teacher absenteeism

∙ Ocean Research and Conservation Association: The grant would be used to establish the Indian River County Water Tribe at the Indian River Charter High School. The Water Tribe would transform the way marine science is taught at IRCHS -- taking science out of the classroom and into the environment. The majority of the grant would be used to develop a pollution map of the county portion of the Indian River Lagoon.

All Indian River Impact 100 members will be at the group’s April 11 annual meeting to hear the finalist’s presentations, followed by a vote of all members to select this year’s top three grant recipients.