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Who wants $100K?!? Impact 100 announces finalists

Suzi Lock, Amy Acker, Denise Battaglini and Gladys LaForge

Members of Impact 100 of Indian River County gathered last Thursday afternoon at the Vero Beach Country Club for the 2020 Big Reveal and Celebration, sponsored by Ryan Weaver Insurance, where it was announced that the collective of philanthropic ladies will be distributing a whopping $516,481 to eight finalist organizations.

The determination as to which five nonprofits will be receiving $100,000 high-impact grants, with the other three splitting the remainder, will be decided by member votes at the Grant Awards and Annual Meeting, April 16 at the Oak Harbor Club.

“We want to thank Impact 100 for the great things you do for the nonprofits of Indian River County,” said Melissa Weaver. Congratulating the finalists she added, “Whether they are winners or not, what we know is that through this process, their organization has already been and will be impacted in a way that’s going to exceed their expectations.”

Recalling the excitement and anxiousness of Christmas mornings, board president Amy Acker said, “I was as excited and nervous these past few weeks, anxiously awaiting the final results of our grant evaluations.”

Grants chair Suzanne Carter thanked committee members, panelists and financial advisors for their tireless efforts in reviewing this year’s large number of applicants, before announcing the 2020 finalists:

n Big Brothers Big Sisters of IRC, for a program to recruit veterans and service professionals to mentor and engage struggling, disadvantaged youth.

n Camp Haven, which assists homeless men to rebuild their lives, to fund a new multipurpose services building as a meeting place for such programs as training, psychological counseling and AA meetings.

n Children’s Home Society, to assess and address school community challenges at its Dodgertown Elementary Community Partnership School, through a program to provide behavioral health services, after school enrichment and parental engagement.

n Ocean Research and Conservation Association, to fund a Citizen Science program at the ORCA Center for Citizen Science to educate and engage members of the community in solving the problems that are leading to the degradation of the Indian River Lagoon.

n The Source, to fund a Dining with Dignity Food Truck, a mobile extension of their employment skills training program that offers culinary training to help resolve the issues of hunger, homelessness, poverty and unemployment.

n The ARC of IRC, to fund a Collaborative Music program with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, to teach individuals with varying degrees of ability about musical genres and instruments so they may eventually express themselves through ACO musical performances.

n The Treasure Coast Food Bank, to introduce a Mobile Mercado, a self-contained, roving grocery store on wheels and SNAP (food stamps) access point, which will target local residents where they live, work and play.

n Visiting Nurse Association of IRC, to fund a Home Health Music Therapy program for VNA Home Health Patients with chronic conditions, including neurological diagnosis, who are receiving rehabilitative services.

“We are thrilled with the number, the quality, and the diversity of all of the finalists that we have this year,” said Carter.

“By the way, this is only the second time in our 12-year history that we have had over seven grant finalists; so truly a good year for us,” said Acker, before Impact board members opened boxes and blue balloons floated up to reveal the $516,481 to be awarded.

The amount represents contributions from this year’s membership, the amount held over from last year and an amount returned to Impact from a prior grantee which, after successfully implementing their program, underspent their budget.

“I’m proud to say that this will put Impact 100 over $4.5 million in cumulative dollars awarded in grants to Indian River County nonprofit organizations,” said Acker. “This is truly a great year for Impact 100. This could not have happened and would not have happened without all of you. Our members are the heart and soul of Impact 100 and I thank you all very much.”

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Photos by: Mary Schenkel
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