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IMPACT100 of NWF – Changing the Gulf Coast One Woman at a Time

IMPACT100 of NWF – Changing the Gulf Coast One Woman at a Time

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The great Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” No truer statement could be made about IMPACT100 of Northwest Florida (NWF), which has been positively changing lives within the communities of Okaloosa and Walton counties during the last eight years. Working within the premise of “1 woman giving $1,000, with 100% of funds going back into the community in $100,000 grants”, IMPACT100 of NWF brings like-minded women together to make a real difference in the lives of community members.

IMPACT100 of NWF can trace its roots back to the international organization IMPACT100, which was founded in 2001. IMPACT100’s founder, Wendy Steele, had the simple idea that a group of women who understand their community’s needs and are committed to being good stewards of their organization’s resources can create real change for real people. In 2012, four inspired women in Fort Walton Beach decided to bring the radically simple, yet successful, idea to the Gulf Coast. Today, with 508 members and 100% volunteer-run, IMPACT100 of NWF is one of the strongest civic organizations in our area.

With members contributing a tax-deductible contribution of $1,000 each year, IMPACT100 of NWF has the awesome responsibility of choosing a deserving 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization to award their yearly $100,000 grant. Nineteen board members work with five focus area committees to review the applying charities and organizations to see which one has the project proposal that can take their association to the next level and do the most good. Any non-profit organization can apply, and IMPACT100 of NWF holds a workshop every year to help groups through the application process. Out of the many applications, ten organizations are selected as the year’s finalists. All hopeful finalists attend the annual meeting where members vote for the recipient.

Once the grant has been awarded, a board representative stays in contact with the group and approves funds as needed, which should be within two years of winning the award. Through every step of the way, IMPACT100 of NWF ensures that its members’ contributions are used according to the intended purpose. While every grant allows a charity to do amazing things along the Gulf Coast, some notable projects among many that have been completed using IMPACT100 of NWF grants are:

  • The building and expansion of Safe Connections – a residential-looking and feeling space that allows non-custodial parents to have safe and supervised visits with their children.
  • The renovation of Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge – a place for education, conservation, and rehabilitation for the welfare of Florida’s natural fauna.
  • The purchase of delivery trucks and other needed materials to support Destin Harvest – a group that reclaims food from restaurants and bakeries to serve to the homeless.

In total, over $2.7 million have been granted to organizations along the Emerald Coast, all coming from the generosity and stewardship of IMPACT100 of NWF.

Membership to IMPACT100 of NWF is open to all women over 18, with men being encouraged to donate to the organization or sponsor a woman member. While there are numerous ways to be involved in any of the group’s activities, the only commitment that is mandatory is a yearly donation of $1,000. “Members can give as little or as much time that they can commit,” says Cindy McCue, president of IMPACT100 of NWF. “We are not looking for wealthy women, we are looking for generous women.”

If you are looking for a way to become involved with IMPACT100 of NWF, as well as have opportunities to socialize and network with some of the most driven and generous women in the area, visit If you happen to live in the Pensacola area and are interested in becoming involved with IMPACT100 Pensacola, visit Belonging to any chapter of IMPACT100 is a rewarding way to make a difference, with each woman contributing, leading, and making a positive difference in the wider world and here along the Gulf Coast.

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