GRANT APPLICATION GUIDELINES FOR IMPACT 100 NWF GRANTS
IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida is a group of women that seeks to transform the lives of people in Okaloosa and Walton Counties by funding transformational, high impact projects through grants to nonprofit organizations in those counties. The exact amount of funds available for award in any given year depends upon the number of women who join the organization.
IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida accepts grant applications from organizations recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, other than religious or politically affiliated organizations whose purpose for the grant is political or religious activities. Organizations must be based in Okaloosa and/or Walton County or may be recognized as a county chapter of a state or national charity serving residents of Okaloosa or Walton County. Your organization needs to have operated under its own 501(c)(3) status for at least 12 months.
- Project must be implemented in and serve residents of Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
- Grant project requests must be in the amount to be awarded that is announced by IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida. Grant projects over the amount to be awarded must show the ability to fund the total project.
- Recipients of grants must expend funds within two years of grant award.
- The funded project must be operational within two years of grant award.
- Grant recipients shall agree to provide interim progress reports and a final report to a designee of IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida.
- Each organization may only submit one grant application per year.
- Organizations who have received an IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida grant are not eligible to apply again for two years.
- The project, which must be shown to have a positive IMPACT on our community, may be a new program, a significant expansion of an existing program, or may be a collaborative effort of several agencies.
Nonprofit organizations submit their applications under one of five specific focus areas.
- Education: Projects and initiatives essential to improving the educational process or improving access to education for children and/or adults in Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
- Environment: Projects and initiatives essential to protecting, preserving, revitalizing or restoring natural resources or environmental facilities in Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
- Family: Projects and initiatives that strengthen and enhance the lives of children and families residing in Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
- Health & Recreation: Projects and initiatives that positively impact the physical and/or mental health and wellness of residents of Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
- Arts & Culture: Projects and initiatives essential to cultivating, developing, educating and improving cultural initiatives in Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
Grant Evaluation Criteria
The members of IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida evaluate grant applications according to the criteria below.
Is the project transformational? Transformational projects solve a problem, satisfy a need or create an opportunity for strategic change. People involved in transformational projects look at the big picture to see a productive approach to change. This often means looking beyond the natural borders of their organization to find new ways to work with others to solve the problem, address needs or capitalize on opportunities. The process for conceptualizing the transformational project includes several steps:
- Identify the wider need or the strategic issue to be addressed,
- Identify and explain change created by the project,
- Create project objectives,
- Describe the impact the project will create, and
- Identify ways to measure the success of the project.
Does the project have high impact? High impact projects significantly influence our community and can be achieved in a variety of ways, such as:
- Enabling an organization to affect a large group of people,
- Changing the way an organization addresses its mission resulting in a fundamental shift in how it provides services to its stakeholders,
- Creating new collaborations with other organizations to address a broader spectrum of the community, or
- Directly affecting a small group of people which results in significant change that will have wider implications for the community.
Is the project sustainable? IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida grant funds must be expended in two years. The applicant must demonstrate how the program will continue and be funded after that time.
Does the organization have the strength, capacity and capability to successfully administer a grant of this magnitude?
- The project supports the organization’s mission and strategic plan.
- The organization’s Board of Directors and administrators provide effective operational and fiscal leadership.
- The members of the Board of Directors reflect a range of capabilities commensurate with the needs of the organization.
- The members of the Board of Directors support the work of the organization financially.
- The organization is financially stable, conducting effective annual fundraising.
- The staffing indicated for the program is realistic.
IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida does not fund the following:
- General operating expenses or overhead
- Debt reduction or operational deficits
- Grants to specific individuals
- Endowment or memorial funding
- Interim or bridge funding
- Partisan, legislative or political activities
- Fraternal, sectarian and religious organizations where the grant is intended for the principal benefit of the organization’s own members or adherents, or where the grant is intended for inherently religious activities
- Private foundations
- Legal expenses incurred in any action by or against the organization
- General construction or renovation (unrelated to a specific proposed project)
- Projects that unlawfully discriminate on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief
- Fund drives or annual appeals
- General capital campaigns or projects within a capital campaign
- Advertising (unrelated to a specific proposed project)
IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida’s guidelines are continuing to evolve. IMPACT 100 reserves the right to change grant award criteria without prior notice at any time.
IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida encourages but does not require nonprofit organizations to collaborate with one another and also with other individuals and entities in developing and providing transformational projects.
A collaborative relationship is one between two or more nonprofit organizations that lowers costs and/or increases gains for those served by their programs. When two or more organizations collaborate, they align their missions and activities to achieve a common goal. Collaboration also meaningfully changes the way participating organizations do business for the long-term and requires Board involvement as a high-level, strategic activity.
The program description in the grant application must clearly explain the role of the collaborating organization(s). The program budget must indicate the collaborating organization’s compensation. A signed certificate and a letter of collaboration summarizing each collaborator’s role are required from the collaborating organization.
The lead partner in a collaborative project takes responsibility for completing the application and shepherding the application through IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida’s grant process. The lead agency’s organizational, financial and IRS data will be examined as part of the application process. All grant funds will be payable to and administered by the lead partner. If the application is awarded a grant the lead partner also manages the grant’s project and ensures it is completed according to IMPACT 100 Northwest Florida’s requirements.
It is also possible and acceptable that an additional organization(s) or individual(s) work on the project as a service provider or partner rather than a full collaborator. This relationship should be fully described and a letter of participation included in the application.
Being part of a collaborative effort does not exclude your nonprofit organization from submitting another grant application for its own project.
Grant Review Process
- Grant Guidelines and Application: The application will be available to download in late spring from the IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida website. Organizations must also submit various documents to accompany the application. Grant applications must be received by the submission deadline in July. The deadline will be announced in early spring.
- Initial Document Review: IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida Grant committee will conduct an initial review of all applications and contact applicants with questions or requests for information. If additional information is requested, it must be submitted both electronically and in paper copies by the date requested.
- Grant Committee: The Grant Committee will evaluate each application using the criteria listed above in this document. Grant committee members conduct the reviews starting in July.
- Site Visit: Each applicant receives a site visit by a team of IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida grant committee ambassadors. Site visits provide an opportunity for IMPACT 100 ambassadors to meet the people behind the organization requesting funding. The objective of the site visit is to complete a general due diligence review and to resolve the panel’s remaining questions regarding the organization, its proposed project and/or budget. Site visits necessitate approximately two hours of dedicated time, and the required participation of the Executive Director, the project manager, and a board member. It is important that Board members, administration and staff are all represented at the site visit. Grant panel chairs set the site visit at a mutually agreed upon time. An applicant may request a specific time for the visit if a particular time will best highlight the program request. Site visits occur during August and September.
- Grant Committee Final Review: After site visits are completed in September, IMPACT 100 grant committees perform a final review of the grants assigned to their committee, vote on a finalist from their grant pool, and rank remaining applicants for further review. This review is done by a finalist selection committee that determines the additional grants to be selected as finalists as warranted. Finalists are presented to the IMPACT 100 Board for final approval.
- Finalists: Grant finalists are announced at a Grant Finalist Reveal Event to be held in October.
- Grant Summary: Applicants provide a project summary as part of the grant application. Summaries of projects selected as finalists will be sent to IMPACT 100 members and posted on our website prior to the Annual Meeting.
- Annual Meeting: Those selected grants will be presented to the full IMPACT 100 membership to be voted on at the Annual Meeting in November (or by absentee ballot.) Representatives of the selected grants will be allowed five minutes to speak about their organization to the membership prior to voting.
Terms of Grants
Prior to receiving an IMPACT 100 grant award disbursement, the grant recipient must execute a Grant Award Agreement with IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida. Grant funds will be disbursed when the recipient can provide documentation that the funds have been expended for the purpose of the grant or a purchase order is in place.
IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida requires that each grant recipient submit a periodic written progress report, allow site visits and a final written report, as requested. IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida emphasizes the use of evaluation to measure program progress and outcomes, to promote learning from experience, to improve program performance and to encourage our grantees to create effective self-evaluation plans into their projects.