For many women, joining Impact100 SRQ marks the first time they have written a $1,000 check to an organization, said Pam Kandziora, president of the nonprofit.
Nonetheless, she said the organization is the fastest-growing Impact100 chapter in the world, having been able to multiply the required $1,000 per member donation exponentially during each of its years serving the community.
The fifth Annual Celebration & Award Ceremony, held Nov. 8 at Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, featured presentations by 10 finalists, seven of which were chosen, through a vote by members, to receive grants of $109,000 each.
These grants will fund transformational projects often not achievable through traditional funding, said Kandziora.
"I'm so excited. I'm honestly so happy to see how many girls are going to be impacted now," said Girl Scouts member Kenzie Shockey, 15, after the receipt of a grant by Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida to built an amphitheater at Camp Honi Hanta in Bradenton.
"That's what we want to do — fund something that really changes the way (organizations) are able to serve the community," Kandziora said.
"This is an awesome opportunity for the wildlife and our community, and it will have a large positive impact on the county," said Pamela DeFouw, executive director of the Paul A. & Veronica H. Gross Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida, which was awarded a grant to construct a 100-foot flyway for rehabiliation of birds of prey.
Katy McBrayer-Lynch, who first came to Sarasota Youth Court 22 years ago as a teenager with multiple criminal charges, said the organization changed her life when Heather Todd, the organization's current CEO, became her client coordinator.
"It means so much to me personally," she said. "That's what this is for, it's for more Heather Todds to be able to uniquely sit down with these individuals and decide how they're going to change their life."
This story was updated to note that Jewish Family & Children's Services of the Suncoast was among the grant recipients.