Impact 100 announces its six grant finalists

VERO BEACH — Indian River Impact 100 has announced the six finalists who will each vie for one of three $100,000 grants.  Impact 100 exceeded its 300 member goal by 48 additional philanthropic womenFor the first time, finalists who are not among the winning three will split the remaining $48,000, thus ensuring that every non-profit will walk away with some funds. The six finalist organizations are Hibiscus Children’s Center, Senior Resource Association, Treasure Coast Community Health, The Learning Alliance, Education Foundation of Indian River County, and Ocean Research and Conservation Association.

•           Hibiscus Children’s Center’s intended program will create a model to support their 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 their homes due to abuse and or neglect. Most will no longer be in state custody at age 18.

Partners with Hibiscus Children’s Center 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.

Program goals include: demonstrated readiness for job opportunities, demonstrated readiness for self-sufficiency, and recognition that self-sufficiency is best achieved through education. All participants will be evaluated after the completion of the program or when a youth leaves the program.

“Hibiscus Children’s Center thanks the women of Impact 100 for this recognition and we look forward to presenting our program to the membership,” said Thomas Maher, President and CEO.

•           Senior Resource Association will 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 will utilize the latest techniques designed to gain the information needed regarding our population of older adults.

Once complete it will be integrated into the long range plans of the SRA, providing many organizations within the county to better provide services to meet the needs of seniors. The assessment will examine the needs of older seniors including: physical health which will include injury/disease prevention, home and community based services, health promotion, as well as housing and transportation; emotion health, including mental health, elder justice/guardianship and care-giving; safety, including public safety, emergency planning and response; spiritual, social and recreational, including connectedness to others and the wider community, knowledge and access to community activities and services; and intellectual and vocational, including economic sustainability, civic engagement, life-long learning and volunteerism.

Seventeen non-profit agencies have agreed to be on the steering committee and have offered in-kind resources.

“It is a tremendous accomplishment to be chosen as an Impact 100 finalist given the rigorous and thorough review process. I’m incredibly excited and very appreciative of the efforts of the ladies at Impact 100 in reviewing and selecting the finalists,” said Karen Deigl, President and CEO.

•           Treasure Coast Community Health (TCCH), a Federally Qualified Health Center, works diligently to provide medical, dental and behavioral health care to all who need access to these services in Indian River County, regardless of their ability to pay. As the only provider of adult dental services for those with limited resources, TCCH assisted over 5,000 people with better oral health in 2010 through preventative and restorative measures.

The Impact 100 grant will allow TCCH to upgrade its original dental site in Fellsmere to the same technology used commonly by other dentists in the county, such as digital x-rays and an integrated electronic dental record. This one action will provide increased efficiency and allow TCCH to see hundreds of additional patients each year with existing dental staff, recruit and retain additional dentists; improve care for patients who utilize services across sites and services (through integration with current electronic health records), and electronically collect data for quality improvement and required reporting purposes.

“We are thrilled to be considered as a finalist for the Impact 100 grant. This project will create a large and lasting difference in the improvement of desperately needed oral care for our community,” said Vicki Soulé, Chief Executive Officer.

•           The Learning Alliance, founded in 2009 by three parents of learning challenged children, has already established three pilot programs, and now proposes the next phase of implementation of the evidence-based literacy curriculum Fundations. In partnership with the Indian River School District, it will train 30 teachers and 3 master teachers to provide daily instruction to 540 kindergarten and first grade students at Highlands, Vero Beach, and Pelican Island Elementary Schools.

Goals include dramatically increasing literacy in the county. (Locally, 24% of third graders and 43% 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 will be transformational because teachers will be trained and a master coach will be trained at each school to continually train new teachers.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be chosen as a finalist for the Impact 100 grant. We have been hard at work for over a year implementing evidence-based literacy and the grant would enable us to teach even more children to read,” said co-founder Lisa Hurley.

•           The Education Foundation’s grant will be for the new Vero Beach Elementary school (VBE) which will be a model green school that will serve as a proto-type for other school districts in the State of Florida. More than 90% of VBE students are from urban impoverished families. More than 62 VBE families are homeless.

The grant will fund the tools to empower students and their families to generate sustainable food and energy resources. The project will change the lives of children who receive free and reduced lunch services by teaching them about health and well-being, citizenship, the connection between hunger and drug abuse and how to generate power and food for their families.

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 will reduce student obesity, ADHD, asthma and student/teacher absenteeism.

“This is an opportunity to shine the bright and positive light on the great things happening in our schools in Indian River County. It is a chance to get the community to invest and support education. This grant will help families learn to grow and sustain themselves for the benefit of children,” explained Cynthia Falardeau, Executive Director.

•           Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) will use the grant money to establish the Indian River County Water Tribe at the Indian River Charter High School. The Water Tribe will transform the way marine science is taught at IRCHS – taking science out of the classroom and into the environment.

The Water Tribe members will then use their experience and knowledge to educate other Indian River County students and the community about the health of our marine ecosystem and what can be done to improve and preserve it.

The majority of the Impact 100 funds will be used to develop a pollution map of the county portion of the Indian River Lagoon. Students will work side-by-side with ORCA scientists in the field and the laboratory to develop a map that will make pollution visible. It will show where pollution is accumulating in our local water.

“We are thrilled to learn that we are among the finalists for the Impact 100 grant,” explained Beth Falls, Research Scientist. “All the scientists involved in this project had a transformational education experience when we were younger…a mentor or an opportunity that sparked our passion for science and exploration and changed the course of our lives. We are committed to offering that type of experience to the students who will be involved in this program. We love the fact that four women scientists will be using funds from 348 women philanthropists to carry out this project…serving as role models for the girls in the Water Tribe.”


After receiving more than 45 Letters of Intent in November, 2010, which then became 24 quality grant applications, the Executive Board and Panel Chair met this week and selected the six finalists.

“All Impact members will come together at the annual meeting April 11 to hear the finalists presentations and to vote for their choices to win the coveted transformational grants,” explained President Laura McDermott.

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