Sudden ‘Impact’: Space Coast Symphony scores $100,000 grant

Space Coast Symphony Orchestra is one of three organizations selected by the Vero Beach-based Impact 100 Community Partnership to receive grants of $100,000 each to support music education.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County and H.A.L.O. No Kill Rescue were also among the newest Impact 100 winners at the 11th annual Impact 100 Grant Awards and Annual Meeting last Wednesday at the Oak Harbor Club, sponsored by PNC Wealth Management.

Aaron Collins, conductor and artistic director of Space Coast Symphony, plans four programs – a free family concert, a children’s concert for first- through third-graders, a shoulder-to-shoulder concert for Vero Beach and Sebastian bands, and a once-upon-an-orchestra series, geared toward children and infants. It was the third year SCSO had applied for help with its Indian River County programs, so persistence paid off.

It has been a challenging and momentous year for the Impact board, led by Denise Battaglini as president and the grants committees, chaired by Brenda Cetrulo, with this year’s grants pushing total disbursements to more than $4 million. The all-woman organization of 425 members grew by 56 this year. Each woman donates $1,000, thereby pooling her giving power with others.

“Impact 100 was started 11 years ago by a small group of philanthropic women who wanted to make a big difference and a big change in our community,” said Battaglini. “They were able to get off the ground quickly by establishing themselves as a fund of the (Indian River) Community Foundation, and that’s the model we’ve been operating under ever since.”

The chapter is now one of the largest in the country; maturing to where it can operate legally, financially and operationally on its own. On July 1, it will become fully independent of the foundation.

Mary Blair, a relatively new Vero Beach resident, joined Impact 100 in December and immediately signed up to serve on grants – the “heart and soul” of the organization.

“For many of us, this is paradise, but for a majority of the population who live here, this is paradise in tough times. I learned a phenomenal amount about the poverty, the hunger, the mental health concerns that exist in our community,” said Blair. “In our world today when one person thinks they can’t make a difference, I think the mantra of this organization – one woman, one check, one vote – shows that one can make all the difference in the world.”

Leave a Comment