Impact 100 of IRC – Announcing the 2021 Grant Award Finalists

Impact 100 of Indian River County is happy to let you know that 10 finalists will compete for high-impact $100,000 grants that will be awarded at our virtual Annual Meeting on April 22, 2021. The finalists were introduced at the Meet the Finalists virtual event on March 3rd; here are short descriptions of their exciting projects:

  • Ballet Vero Beach will purchase a mobile dance studio and deliver free, 1–2-week dance therapy to seniors with movement or cognitive disorders at nursing homes. In addition, 1–2-week on-site arts programming will be provided to underserved and at-risk youth within the public school system or at partner organizations. Project Title: Pointe to Point: Ballet Vero Beach Goes Mobile
  • Childcare Resources of IRC has partnered with three Florida colleges to offer substantial scholarships, enrollment in credential/degree programs and mentorship for early childhood educators. With 46% of IRC children deemed not ready for kindergarten, a skilled early educator workforce is essential to best prepare our thousands of IRC preschoolers. Project Title: C.R.E.A.T.E. (Childcare Resources Education Advancement & Training for Early Educators)
  • Crossover Mission helps at-risk children become productive adults through a program of year-round basketball training and one-to-one academic mentoring. The grant will build out and equip a 1,700 square foot multi-media learning center within the new Crossover Center in Gifford. Project Title: The CAT (Center for Achievement and Tutoring at the Crossover Center)
  • Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition will train postpartum doulas to work with low income, high risk woman and their infants during the “fourth trimester” – the 12 weeks following a baby’s birth –an especially risky period for infant mortality, in addition to depression, sleep and feeding issues. Project Title: Postpartum Doula
  • Pelican Island Audubon Society will partner with Pelican Island Elementary School to design and pilot a new K-5 curriculum. Once completed, this outdoor, multi-disciplinary, environmentally focused education model will be available for export to other elementary schools in the district. Project Title: One Small School, One Large Impact: Restoring Mental Health, Restoring Habitat, Restoring Community
  • SafeSpace, Inc. offers victims of domestic violence safety, support and education, empowering them to create an independent life, free from violence. The grant will help to staff a renovated 19-bed domestic violence emergency shelter in Indian River County. Currently, the nearest shelter for IRC women and their children is 42 miles away in Martin County. Project Title: Indian River County Shelter
  • The Veterans Council of IRC will expand the audience served by its free home repair program for qualifying veterans to include surviving spouses, and veterans living with a parent and children. The grant enables veteran families to improve the quality of their lives and in some cases, stay in their homes by providing safety and accessibility. Project Title: Veteran Families: Quality of Life
  • United Against Poverty will expand its existing workforce development program (STEP) by adding a comprehensive entrepreneurial element for its clients. The program includes on-site, on-the-job training focused on e-commerce and provide opportunities for graduates to present business plans and secure funding for promising start-ups. For those not suited to a standard work environment, the program offers an alternative roadmap out of poverty. Project Title: UP Entrepreneurial Commerce Center Program
  • Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy will expand its all-day Learning Center, the first of its kind in IRC. They provide low-income children with meals, academic support, life skills and vocational training. Vocational and life skills programs include cosmetology, cooking, carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, boat repair, gardening/agriculture, money management, bike mechanics, sewing, and car mechanics. The goal: 100% of its students graduate high school on time and secure meaningful careers to break the cycle of poverty. Project Title: The Learning Center at Youth Guidance
  • Youth Sailing Foundation will partner with the Homeless Children’s Foundation to provide free 10-week sailing camps for homeless children, including round-trip transportation. Sailing is a rigorous sport that teaches resilience and problem solving. The “I can do this” moments experienced while sailing provide the foundation for similar inflection points in academic and social progress. Project Title: Homeless Children Free Sailing Instruction

Beginning in October, local nonprofits were invited to apply for $100,000 high-impact grants. The intent is for the nonprofits to be able to make sustainable, long-lasting changes in the community that lead to transformation over time. The finalists were chosen from numerous worthy applications.

Grants chair Mary Blair said it best: “In this year of COVID, we received a record number of excellent grant applications. The finalists comprise a great diversity of size, mission and project scope that meaningfully represents the wide variety of needs in Indian River County; we are excited to see such a wealth of great projects upon which our members can vote.”

Gladys LaForge, Impact 100 president, echoed Blair’s enthusiasm, stating “It is so gratifying to see our members rise to the occasion so that we are able to award these grants in this challenging year. We have extended our membership deadline until April 1 to allow as many generous women as possible to participate in the voting on April 22; our hope is to award four grants for 2021.”

Indigo Vero Beach was the Event Sponsor for the 2021 Meet the Finalists event. Impact 100 is grateful to all our sponsors for their financial contributions, which help maintain our commitment to awarding one hundred percent of membership dues to grants in our local community.

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