In 2003, a group of local women met in Pensacola, Florida with the idea of giving life to effective philanthropy in our community. They wanted to make a significant difference. They had the idea to transform their collective efforts and resources into a viable plan of action.
The inspiration came from a group of similarly-minded women in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wendy Steele had the idea to promote philanthropy among women. In 2001, Wendy mobilized close friends and business associates to form a nonprofit operating as IMPACT 100 in the Cincinnati area. The concept was simple, yet ambitious. The Cincinnati founders recruited 100 women to donate $1,000 each, and collectively funded a $100,000 grant to a charitable initiative which demonstrated the potential for community impact and sustainability.
The IMPACT 100 model was so successful that it was picked up by the national news media. Debbie Ritchie made it her mission to bring IMPACT 100 to her beloved Pensacola. The founding board of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area brought together not 100, but 233 women. With the $233,000 collection, the grass-roots philanthropy funded two grants, each for $116,500. For every 100 members recruited in a given year, IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area is able to incrementally fund charitable initiatives in amounts not less than $100,000.