They say many hands make light work, and putting that theory to the test is a new community initiative being organized in the Township of Woolwich. The 100 Woolwich Women Who Care are coming together to pool the combined resources of women across the community to support local initiatives.
The group is still in its early stages, and is looking for local residents to join ahead of their inaugural first meeting next month.
“Basically, the idea is we’re going to meet four times a year: February, May, September and November,” explained Leigh Rees, group member and cofounder. “You commit to one year, and what that means is that you have committed [to donate] $100 for each meeting.”
Members agree to give $100 each, and all the money is collected together and donated in one lump sum to a single cause within the township. Members vote on their choice of charity, and the selected cause receives all the donations. In the span of a single meeting, a group of 100 women can generate a sum of $10,000 – all of it going to bolster the chosen organization.
“I think it’s the best way to get the biggest bang for your buck,” said Sharron Cook, another of the group’s founders, who first proposed starting the 100 Woolwich Women to her friends. “You can turn your $100 into $10,000 in an hour. What better way for a charity to get a chunk of money?”
There are chapters of 100 Women groups across Canada and the U.S., including in Waterloo Region, as well as related groups like the 100 Men Who Give a Damn. Seeing the success of these organizations in their own communities, Cook proposed starting a Woolwich collective to her friends at her book club, and the group jumped on the opportunity.
“I just thought it was a really great idea when Sharron presented it to us,” said fellow member Shannon Carbone. “I know myself I don’t have a whole lot of time. I have two kids, I’m busy running around, I have other commitments in my life, and this is just … an hour commitment four times a year, so it worked for me.”
The 100 Women Who Care model of fundraising grew out of the U.S. in 2006, when a group of over 100 women in Michigan banded together to buy baby cribs for a local charity. Each woman agreed to donate $100 to the cause, and in the course of a single meeting were able to raise thousands in short order. The idea has since been adopted in communities across the continent.
“And the beautiful part is, people are so busy nowadays, so the big thing is the lack of a huge time commitment,” added Donna Robertson. Meetings are also a great chance for members to socialize and network as well, and have fun while raising a large amount of money and having a significant impact on the community, they point out.
“And it’s such a simple premise. It’s just simple math. We can make it happen, let’s do it,” said Cook. “And what a great windfall for a local charity.”
Three charities are invited to attend the meetings and explain, in a brief presentation, why they would like the group’s donations and what they hope to do with funds. After some socializing, the women-members then get to vote for their choice of charity.
“So any charity that can provide a receipt to donors can be selected,” explained Rees. “And of the three, women that attend the meeting vote, and the charity with the most votes wins the evening and all that money is donated.”
Rather than collect money itself, the 100 Woolwich Women group acts as the facilitator for donations and raising awareness. Members of the 100 Woolwich Women write their cheques directly to the charity itself, ensuring all the charities are the sole recipients.
“All of the money goes to the charity. We collect the cheques, but we don’t collect the money. So the cheque gets handed over, and all of the expenses for the meetings are sponsored,” noted Cook. The winning charities are also invited back to future meetings to talk about the impact the donations had on their efforts – giving donors a real sense of how their money has benefitted their community.
Besides additional members, the group is also looking for sponsors to host their meetings. Charities interested in receiving donations from the group are also being encouraged to reach out; so long as they operate in Woolwich Township and can provide tax receipts to donors, they are eligible to be nominated.
The group will be holding their first meeting on February 5, and organizers are encouraging anyone interested to attend. Only members, however, will be able to cast their vote for a charity.
Those interested in joining the 100 Woolwich Women, or learning more about the group, can also do so online, or by contacting them at email@example.com. Membership forms are available on the website, as well as information for charities and sponsors alike.