Live together, die alone

Pensacola could learn from its women.

IMPACT 100 is a charitable group founded 10 years ago on the premise that collaboration makes a bigger impact than going it alone.

Membership in IMPACT is a check for $1,000. When those donations are pooled, the membership evaluates projects through a competitive grant process. The grant winners get at least $100,000. The total given out depends on the membership.

This year it is 836 women. The goal when it started in 2003 was 100 women.

When this year’s $104,500 IMPACT grants are given out, the group will have put more than $5 million into local nonprofits since 2003. The finalists are in the categories of arts and culture; health and wellness; education; environment, recreation and preservation; and family. Winners will be named Oct. 20.

IMPACT president Holly Jurnovoy told the Pensacola News Journal the money comes from “women who can write a $1,000 check without blinking and women who have to pinch every penny.”

When we are driven to shake our collective heads at the personality conflicts and petty arguments that sometimes so dominate our public discourse, remember these women.

They show us that another way is not only possible, but profitable.

They work together and they do more good than harm.

Over the years they have given to ARC Gateway to help fund a document shredding business that provides jobs in the community and training for those with developmental disabilities.

They bought musical instruments that allowed local middle school students to study music and band.

They helped Habitat For Humanity open a ReStore, which sells donated new or used building materials, household goods and appliances. The proceeds of the sales are poured back into the store and unwanted goods that would have clogged a landfill have new life and use.

They helped fund a transportation grant for Milk and Honey Outreach Ministries to buy two minibuses to help at-risk youth get the interventions they need to see that another path is possible.

It is a trope of social science that if you want a return on your investment in bettering a child's life, give the money to a mother because she is more likely to spend it on something that benefits the family. 

As opposed to something that only benefits her. 

I wouldn't go as far as The New York Times did in its "India Ink" blog with the headline "Are Men Useless?"

But, as the IMPACT women show year after year, Pensacola's men do have a bit to learn from the power of sisterhood.