IMPACT 100 NWF Grant Finalists for 2018
We are very pleased to announce that there will be five (5) IMPACT 100 NWF grant awards this year, one grant award from each focus area.

It is up to the nonprofit to decide which category they want to submit their application to be considered as a grant recipient. With that in mind, there was only one application submitted within the Environmental category. The Environmental Grant Committee followed the proper procedures of vetting, interviewing and visiting the nonprofit. Even though this was the only candidate, the Environmental Grant Committee decided that the nonprofit is deserving to be a finalist.

Therefore, each member will have 5 votes, one in each focus area. There will be two finalists listed in each of our four focus areas except for the Environmental category, where there will only be one option. Below are the nine finalist and their summaries.
Arts and Culture

Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC)

Project: Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Plays for School Field Trips
ECTC's huge growth in attendance through area school field trips to TYA plays is creating a critical need for: improved seating (chairs and seating risers), a new sound system, upgraded lighting, and 8 new stage curtains. The average school grade-level group is approximately 200 students. ECTC only has 125 theater chairs. While ECTC currently borrows chairs, sight lines to the stage are inadequate--especially for the children sitting in back. An additional 75 new chairs, as well as risers on which to place all 200 chairs, are essential to each child having a great view of the action on stage. When the air conditioner turns on, children have a hard time hearing, so sound equipment is needed. ECTC has reached usage capacity for electric power for stage lighting. Providing alternative LED lights will allow more efficient lighting for the stories on stage.  

Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.


Project: Instrumental Success

This grant project is for the purpose of purchasing band instruments for public middle schools in both Okaloosa and Walton Counties and having musicians from Sinfonia provide lessons and masterclasses to the students, demonstrating the instruments, over the course of the remainder of the 2018-2019 and through the 2019-2020 school years. Our counties are blessed with quality band programs that are filled with talented and eager music students and experienced and caring band directors. The dedication of these directors and students are clearly evident by the number of students from both counties that are named to All-State and All-County Bands each year, as well as the consistently superior ratings by both students and bands at district and state solo & ensemble competitions. The success of these programs has realized record numbers of students signing up each school year.

Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.

Arts & Design Society 

Project: SUCCESS (Service Upgrade to the Center with Care for Entry-controlled Security and Safety for all)  
ADSO occupies a designated historical building. Current lease expires 2030, renewed since 1962. Although we are compliant under Title II of ADA, para 7. Q/A Alterations to historic properties, the SUCCESS project is designed to do four things: 1) make our facility more accessible to wheelchair disabled people inside/outside areas, 2) increase exterior lighting for sidewalks, stairs, and parking lots for increased visibility and safety, 3) make our administrative area a safe, secure area for the person working there, with the ability to secure the money she takes in for classes and to secure the people's information she collects. The upgrade removes obstructions and creates a wheel chair access from the art gallery through the administration area to the new outside enclosed courtyard, 4) make our multi-purpose classroom/bathroom wheel-chair handicap accessible, anxiety friendly with improved storage for multiple types of art products/storage.

Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.
Youth Village

Project: Help us Grow our Village


Youth Village is located in an area of Ft. Walton Beach where the majority of the children come from low-income, single-parent households who, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, are labeled as a high-risk demographic and where many of the children are referred to as “latch-key kids”. Approx. 90% of the Youth Village attend Title One Schools. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the children in these schools are eligible to receive free-or-reduced price breakfast and lunch because they live below the poverty level. They need help to break through that tough, but breakable, cycle of generational poverty. We desperately need the community's support for our community's children!             
Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties .

Food For Thought  

Project: FFT Defuniak Warehouse
Our needs consist of funding to purchase the materials to continue the renovation of an 8,000 sq. ft warehouse in Defuniak Springs, FL. Thus far, we have used funds we have already raised and partnered with the Walton County Sheriff’s Department to provide the labor to complete the demolition phase of this project. The electrical needs and roofing repairs have now achieved in Phase I. The IMPACT 100 Grant would provide us with the funds to move on to the next phase and ultimately to the completion of the project. The warehouse would be a distribution center and volunteer work space to provide access to rural communities for expansion of our services. This space will support food storage, working environment of volunteers of all ages, restrooms, handwashing stations, refrigeration, temperature controls, and parking.

Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.
One Hopeful Place

 Project: Long Term Emergency Shelter and Rehousing

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs states that in order for humans to function at their base capacity they must have their physiological needs met: air, food, water, shelter, these exist as baseline metabolic needs and not a want or a luxury. A person needs to sleep and so humans will find a way to supply this need, whether it be a park bench, or sidewalk.

Without these basic needs being met, a person cannot attend to the other necessities within the hierarchy of needs. So though substance abuse, mental illness, etc. are not unique to homelessness, the symptoms can be exasperated by a person’s homelessness. As a result, people cannot receive the proper help they need to address underlying issues if they are struggling to meet their basis needs of human survival: food and shelter. Our purpose is to provide people with this security so that they may find lifeline sustainability. 

Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.
Health and Recreation
 Okaloosa AIDS Support & Informational Services (OASIS) 

Project: Mobile Outreach and Testing Program (MOTP)
While the Southern region accounts for only 37% of the US population, 44% of all HIV infections and nearly half (47%) of all deaths due to HIV/AIDS occur in the Southern states. Florida is one of the eight states with the highest rates of new infections. The Southern AIDS Coalition noted that the South “continues to face great challenges” fueled by social and economic determinants such as poverty, unemployment, lack of access to health insurance and healthcare, homophobia, stigma, and discrimination, which are exacerbated by rural geography. African American men and women in rural Northwest Florida have been under served due to a greater burden of poverty and more limited access to traditional HIV prevention services. Although African American men and women account for only 10.2% of Okaloosa County residents and 6.9% of Walton County residents in 2017, African Americans represent 57% and 40% of HIV/AIDS cases, respectively.

Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.

Westonwood Ranch

Project: OneIMPACTful Trip

When was the last time you had a person with special needs in your gym? If you’re like most of society, the answer is most likely "never". Many young people with autism gravitate away from vigorous physical activity because A) They resist new activities and task demands that are out of routine B) Motor deficits can make many of these activities difficult especially when taught improperly C) Movement has never been introduced in a way that is fun or meets the needs of the individual D) Exercise program has not been paired with reinforcement including behavior-specific praise or secondary reinforcers. Preferred activities usually include technology-based activities, such as playing video games, earning time on an iPad, etc. By nature, those are mostly sedentary activities. Research indicates that an individual with autism will engage in preferred activities for long periods but will typically seek escape from non-preferred activities or exhibit problem behaviors within 2-6 min.
Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.


Project: C.A.R.E., Sea Turtle Rehabilitation
and Conservation

Gulfarium has been in operation for 63 years. During this period, the park’s zoological team has been utilized as the primary rehabilitation, release, and care program for Okaloosa and Walton counties. Sea turtles have increasingly been impacted by changes in climate, pollution, over-fishing, and emerging diseases, to name but a few. Annual rescues and medical needs have nearly exceeded the park’s current program capabilities. Thus, in 2015, Gulfarium embarked on the creation of a new sea turtle care center, including the incorporation of a 501c3 entitled “Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Foundation, Inc.”. The intent is to build an education center, a medical hospital, and a complex of rehabilitation pool. Gulfarium has committed to financially supporting portions of the effort, but is seeking funding via grant partnerships to help with the initial scope.

Read More Learn how funds will be used and will IMPACT our local counties.
Connie Yarbro - Mary Hemard
IMPACT 100 NWF Grant Committee Chairs