PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla.-- More than 500 women in South Palm Beach County are pooling their money to help protect paradise.
“If we want South Florida to remain the way it is, we need to invest in it," said Lisa Mulhall, one of the group's co-founders.
Impact 100 Palm Beach County is a woman's charitable organization that donates annually to nonprofits between Boca Raton and Lake Worth in five categories: environment, arts and culture, education, family and health and wellness.
“I’m a native of Palm Beach County and for me, it’s been critical to be invested in my community," said Impact 100 Palm Beach County President Kirsten Stanley.
This past year, the group consisted of 547 women, Stanley said. Each member donates $1,000 a year, which then goes to nonprofits who compete for a slice of $500,000 in funding. One nonprofit in each of the five categories is selected to receive a $100,000 grant.
"A $1,000 gift may be within our means but a $100,000 gift, most of us can’t do that," Mulhall said. "The beautiful thing of Impact 100 is when we all give together, we can turn it into very large grants and change our community in five significant ways each year."
Coastal Conservation Association of Florida was a finalist in the grant process several years ago for an artificial reef off Manalapan, just north of the Boynton Inlet.
"We did not get the $100,000, but over the course of two years we were awarded approximately $17,000 from Impact 100," said JD Dickenson, state chairman of CCA. "That really helped us get started with respect to this project in South Palm Beach County."
CCA ended up getting additional funding through the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin counties as a result of going through the grant process with Impact 100.
In September 2014, CCA installed what's now known as the goggle eye reef about a mile north of the Boynton Inlet. Barges dropped limestone boulders and concrete rubble into the water to replace a historic natural reef in the area that had been covered by sand over the years.
"It just creates a little oasis of life out there in what is otherwise just sand," Dickenson said.
Impact 100 meets on April 17 to decide this year's grant winners. Nonprofits apply for funding in the fall.
To find out more about joining Impact 100 PBC or to apply for grants, click here.