Impact 100 Baldwin County has awarded $450,000 in grants to area nonprofits, remaining a guiding constant in an uncertain year.
Sandy Stepan, grants chair, said 2020 began with more potential applicants to the program than ever. As the uncertainty of life during the pandemic spread, so did calls from area non-profits to put a hold on major projects. Many dropped out of the grant process.
Among their own membership Stepan said some small business owners reluctantly stepped back from their annual donation due to financial hits felt during the spring shutdowns.
Regardless, Impact 100 carried on.
“It really is incredible and just shows the strength of membership. They believe in the process,” Stepan said.
That process is simple. Members donate $1,000 a year and that money is donated to non-profits in the community. Members are divided into teams that research and interview potential recipients and then help to choose where the money goes. Impact 100 Baldwin County has awarded 43 grants totaling $4 million since 2008.
At its Annual Grant Awards ceremony on Oct. 27, Impact 100 Baldwin County awarded $90,000 grants to agencies in each of the group’s five focus areas: Arts & Culture; Education; Environment, Preservation and Recreation; Family; and Health and Wellness.
Stepan said that in a year with much uncertainty, Impact 100 members are thrilled with the projects they are funding this year.
“We had some very strong applicants and made some tough decisions but we have some great grantees,” she said.
The 2020 grant recipients are:
Eastern Shore Art Center
A center for the visual arts, ESAC presents over 25 exhibits per year and educates nearly 200 people in the visual arts. Impact’s funding would allow them to revamp the entry way to the ESAC Academy thereby reducing potential accidents. They would also revamp Studio 2 creating a better experience for students and introducing arts instruction though a virtual learning platform.
Exploreum Science Center
The Exploreum is an interactive science center in Mobile with hands-on educational experiences that reflect the most current research in STEM education. The grant would fund outreach programs providing on-site or virtual science education to schools and other locations in Baldwin County in order to inspire students’ interest in science studies and STEM-related careers.
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Foundation
The Zoo creates experiences that connect people and communities to wildlife in order to inspire personal responsibility for the natural world. Grant funds would be used to purchase audio/communication equipment for the Zoo’s three new presentation areas: Main Event, Amphitheater, and Swamp Stages. This will enhance their educational endeavors.
Family Promise of Baldwin County
Family Promise focuses on initiatives that strengthen and enhance the lives of homeless children and families. Impact’s funding will provide housing assistance for the first month’s rent to move homeless families out of shelters quickly. In addition, funds will cover a new roof and repaving the driveway at their Summerdale Day Center.
Hope Center, a ministry of 3Circle Church, offers low cost marriage, family and individual counseling by licensed professionals to residents who have no health insurance or are under-insured. The grant allows them to convert existing medical space which will expand capacity from one room to 2,000 square feet comprising multiple rooms with five dedicated to patient counseling.