CRESTVIEW — Crestview will have a new supervised visitation center for troubled families next year because of a group of women who want to make a difference in their community.
Impact 100 Northwest Florida was started in February with the goal of making significant improvements in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The group tries to bring together at least 100 women to contribute $1,000 each so it can present a local nonprofit group a $100,000 grant to fund a project.
The 128 members of Impact 100 voted last week to select the Judge Ben Gordon Jr. Family Visitation Center as the recipient of their first grant for $128,000.
“(The center) persuaded the women of Impact 100 that with $128,000, they could make an impact on their community,” said Michelle Anchors, president of Impact 100 Northwest Florida’s board of directors. “That’s exciting to us to see that there are children who will be able to visit their families in a safe and secure environment in the north end of the county, and that made an impact.
“It’s been the most positive association with which I’ve ever been associated, and we just want to grow it because we can see the needs and you can see in 12 months that we’ll have a new facility at the Ben Gordon Visitation Center. Something that didn’t exist last year is going to exist next year because of Impact 100,” Anchors added.
The visitation center will use the money to buy a home in Crestview and add video cameras, offices, a secure entrance and a parking lot.
Sharon Rogers, executive director of the center, said they'd received a Safe Havens grant from the Department of Justice to fund the operation of a new Crestview center. However, that grant did not cover the purchase of the property.
“I was overwhelmed and it was just a huge honor,” Rogers said. “(The Impact 100 grant) came along and it was really the perfect fit.”
Impact 100 had 34 non-profit groups apply for the grant. The other four finalists were the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, Emerald Coast Science Center, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and OASIS.
Anchors said the goal for next year is to get 200 members, which would allow the group to give out two $100,000 grants.
“This is truly an organization that cannot happen with one leader or one good board of directors or a few solid members,” Anchors said. “It requires 128 to make it be effective at what it did this year. It really is about 100 percent of the membership.
“(Impact 100) will continue to grow exponentially, so that in 10 years we will say we have given more than $1 million so that there is one new significant project a year that is happening that wasn’t able to happen before 2012,” she added.
TO LEARN MORE: For more information on Impact 100 Northwest Florida, go to www.impactnwf.org.
Contact Daily News Business Editor Dusty Ricketts at 850-315-4448 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DustyRnwfdn.