A remarkable group of women has worked tirelessly for 20 years to make a measurable difference in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. These dedicated women are the members of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area. At the heart of IMPACT 100 is the commitment to collectively fund significant grants to nonprofit organizations.
The community came together on Sept. 28 to celebrate the organization’s 20th year and the multimillion-dollar investment the members have made in the community. Fifty-seven women have maintained membership each and every year.
Kristin Longley, president of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, and public affairs director for the Cox East Region, quoted Shirley Chisholm when she said, “‘Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.’”
IMPACT 100 provides Longley and other women the opportunity to fulfill that purpose by serving their community. Joining IMPACT 100 or any philanthropic organization is a powerful way to give back. She emphasized that time, talent and treasure are valuable resources that can change lives.
Longley embodies the spirit of community engagement.
“I am so blessed to work for a family-owned company that is dedicated to making a difference in the communities that we serve,” she said.
Longley’s affiliation with IMPACT 100 began when her friend Meri Asmar encouraged her to renew her commitment to community service. She quickly realized that IMPACT 100 was the ideal avenue for this, drawn to the concept of women joining forces to make a transformative impact through grants. Regardless of her level of involvement each year, she found comfort in knowing her community investment was well spent.
“Cox and my leaders have always encouraged me to be involved in the community both as part of my role in public affairs, but also in my leadership development. Serving on the IMPACT 100 board, an all-volunteer organization, as publicity chair and now as president, has most definitely stretched my ability to lead, influence and grow the organization,” she said.
In 2023, Impact 100 Pensacola Bay Area boasts 1192 members, and continues to be the largest IMPACT in the world. What makes IMPACT 100 truly special is the incredible work its members do for the community year after year. Since its inception, the organization has awarded over $16 million to fund projects that enhance the community. These grants span five essential focus areas: Arts, Culture & History; Education; Environment & Recreation; Family; and Health & Wellness, ensuring a well-rounded approach to community support. Each year, each grant is for at least $100,000.
Grants have gone to fill a multitude of needs including food insecurity, summer learning programs for students who are reading below grade level, upgrades to community theatres, vehicles for nonprofit transportation needs, land for affordable housing and so much more.
Each October, members meet and vote for the grant recipients after a rigorous selection process including an extensive grant application review and a site visit by IMPACT members. On Oct. 22, eleven grants were awarded for a total of over $1.1 million to nonprofits serving Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. All nonprofits serving the two-county area are encouraged to apply for next year’s grants by visiting the website for deadlines and more details.
And IMPACT 100’s impact doesn’t stop at awarding grants. The organization takes effective philanthropy seriously. They invest in the capacity building of nonprofits in the region by offering training opportunities like their Nonprofit Workshops and Link & Learns, enabling nonprofit leaders to become more proficient at writing grants and other responsibilities. The training sessions are open to all nonprofit leaders even if they are not IMPACT grant applicants.
The “impact of IMPACT” ripples throughout the community. The women of IMPACT go beyond their participation in the organization by supporting the nonprofit organizations that apply for IMPACT 100 grants. Members volunteer to serve on nonprofit boards, help with fundraising, provide items from the nonprofit organizations’ Wish Lists published on the IMPACT website and contribute directly to organizations that touch their hearts.
One thing that sets IMPACT apart is its flexibility. Members can choose their level of involvement each year. Some participate in multiple grant review committees and social activities, while others may have constraints due to work, family or health commitments. The beauty lies in the collective effort of hundreds of women who ensure their giving has the greatest impact.
Women interested in IMPACT are invited to attend Meet & Mingle events scheduled from November through February each year to learn more about IMPACT Membership and the grants award process. Membership is open to any woman, age 18 or over, who makes an annual tax-deductible donation (membership fee) of $1,000 by March 1 of any calendar year. The entire contribution is used to fund grants. To learn more about IMPACT membership or nonprofit grant opportunities, visit IMPACT100Pensacola.org or email info@IMPACT100Pensacola.org.