Grant Application Guidelines

Grant Application Guidelines For Impact100 NWF Grants

(Click to download a printable version of the guidelines.)

Impact100 of Northwest Florida (Impact100 NWF) seeks to change the lives of people in Okaloosa and Walton counties by funding high impact projects through grants to nonprofit organizations ("nonprofits") in those counties. Grants are at least $100,000; the exact amount varies each year and is announced in early June. 

Project Requirements

  • Project must be carried out in and serve residents of Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

  • Project requests must be for the exact amount to be awarded that year; applicants whose projects cost more than the grant amount must show that they can fund the entire project.

  • Grant recipients ("grantees") must spend the funds within two years.

  • The project must be completed within two years.

  • Grantees will provide progress reports and a final report to Impact100 NWF.

  • Each organization may submit only one grant application per year.

  • Grantees are not eligible to apply again for two years.

Focus Areas

Applications are submitted under one or two of five specific focus areas;

  • Arts & Culture: Projects which cultivate, develop, and improve arts and culture.

  • Education: Projects which improve education or improve access to education for children and/or adults.

  • Environment, Recreation and Preservation: Projects which protect, preserve, renew, or restore natural resources and/or the facilities needed to do so.

  • Family: Projects that strengthen and enhance the lives of children and families.

  • Health & Wellness: Projects that positively impact physical and/or mental health and wellness.

Evaluation Criteria

Is the project transformational? How does it change the organization and those it serves? These projects cause change by solving problems, satisfying needs, or creating new opportunities. People involved in these projects look at the "big picture". They see beyond the existing limits of their organization to find new ways to accomplish their goals. To fully explain a transformational project, the applicant would:

  • Identify the wider need or the strategic issue to be addressed,

  • Identify and explain change created by the project,

  • Create project objectives, and

  • Show how the project's success will be measured

Does the project have high impact? High impact projects significantly influence our community; they may be ew programs, expansions of exiting programs or a program which involves several groups. Positive impact can be achieved in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Enabling a nonprofit to affect a large group of people,

  • Changing how it addresses its mission, which changes how it provides services,

  • Forming new collaborations with other nonprofits to address a more diverse group, or

  • Empowering a small group of people who make changes with wider implications for the community.

Is the project sustainable? Impact100 NWF grant funds must be spent in two years. Applicants must show how the project will continue and be funded after that.

Is the organization prepared to administer a $100,000 grant?

  • Does the project support the nonprofit's mission and strategic plan/

  • Do the Board of Directors and administrative staff provide effective operational and fiscal leadership?

  • Do board members have the range of skills and abilities needed?

  • Do board members support the organization financially?

  • Is the nonprofit financially stable? Does it conduct effective annual fundraising?

  • Is the staffing for the project realistic?

Collaboration

--Impact100 of NWF encourages nonprofits to collaborate with one another and other individuals or entities to develop projects. 

--The grant application must explain the role of each nonprofit and show how the funds will be divided. Each collaborator must provide a letter agreeing to their role in the project; it is attached to the grant application.

--The lead nonprofit in a collaborative project applies for the grant and follows the application through the review process. If awarded, grant funds will be paid and managed by them.

--If another organization(s) or person(s) works on the project as a service provider or partner rather than a collaborator, a letter of participation must be included in the application.

--Being part of a collaboration does not prevent a nonprofit from submitting a grant application for its own project.

Application Process and Timeline

  • Letter of Intent and Eligibility Determination (LOI): This document is the first step and is filed between mid-March and mid-April. It includes a project description, eligibility criteria and the nonprofit's basic financial data. An IRS letter confirming the nonprofit's 501(c)(3) status and a Florida Bureau of Compliance letter confirming that a current DACS FORM 10100 is on file must be attached.

  • Approval: After reviewing the LOI's, Impact100 NWF informs potential applicants in May if they are eligible and approved to apply. Applications are due in late June.

  • Initial Application Review: Three committees of Impact100 NWF do an initial review of all applications in July and contact applicants if they have questions or need more information.

  • Full Application Review: Each grant application is fully reviewed by members assigned to each focus area. Members review them alone and as a group, usually in August.

  • Site Visit: Two-hour site visits are done by the members assigned to each focus area. They meet the applicants, see the project site (if applicable), and ask questions. The executive director and representatives of the board and staff must be present at the site visit, which occurs in August or September.

  • Final Review: After the site visits, each focus area review group meets for final reviews, voties on two finalists, and ranks the other applicants. A list of finalists is sent to the Impact100 NWF Board of final approval.

  • Announcement of Finalists: The finalists are announced at a Finalist Reveal Event in October.

  • Finalist Information Posted:* Section II of each finalist's application is posted on the Impact100 NWF website and sent to all members before the Annual Meeting, held in October or November.

  • Annual Meeting: A spokesperson for each finalist talks about their project and organization for five minutes. All members of Impact100 NWF vote (in person or by absentee ballot) for their top choice in each of the five focus areas. (If funds are limited, members will choose fewer than five grantees.)

Grant Award Agreement

Before receiving the grant, the recipient must execute a Grant Award Agreement with Impact100 NWF. Funds are paid out when the grantee shows that they were spent for the grant project or that a purchase order is in place.

Grant Progress Reporting

Impact100 NWF requires that if requested, grantees allow site visits, submit regular progress reports, and provide a final report.

(Click to download a printable version of the guidelines.)

*Section II of each finalist's application is substituted for the "Project Summary"