When someone donates to a charitable organization, that money is appreciated and put to work.
Now, imagine what would happen if that money was double, tripled, quadrupled.
Or multiplied by 100. That’s the rationale behind “100 Women Who Care,” a group of women who meet four times a year, and in less than an hour raise over $10,000 for a local cause.
Kristin Marinoff of Traverse City and her mother, Renie Cutlet, co-founded the Traverse City/Leelanau County Chapter of 100 Women Who Care in December 2011.
The duo initially heard about the national organization through friends in their hometown of Grand Haven, who had launched their own chapter and encouraged the duo to bring the concept to the Grand Traverse area. After talking about the idea for over a year, they held the first meeting of the Traverse City/Leelanau County Chapter of 100 Women Who Care on December 1, 2011.
“As a busy working mother I struggle to find time to give back to my community,” said Marinoff. “The model of 100 Women Who Care is such a no-brainer: bringing women together to join forces, without a huge time commitment, to make a large impact on nonprofits in our community.”
The first step was to create a membership committee of ten women in different circles in the Grand Traverse and Leelanau County communities. Those ten women each invited ten women, creating a group of over 100 members for the first meeting.
“It didn’t take very long for me to know that we would easily have 100 women,” said Marinoff. “The first meeting was above and beyond my wildest expectations. We were so thrilled with the response and turn out.”
The organization does not limit its members.
In fact, the group had 160 women attend its first meeting and expects over 200 women at subsequent gatherings.
HOW IT WORKS
The group meets for one hour, four times per year. Members come to the meeting prepared to write a $100 donation to the chosen charity. Each woman in attendance is invited to write her name and an organization on a piece of paper that is then put into a hat. Three names are randomly chosen out of the hat to present their charity to the group. Each individual drawn has five minutes to present to the group why they think their charity deserves the 100 Women Who Care’s support.
After the presentations, each woman votes by secret ballot to decide which organization will receive the donations. By majority vote, the charity with the most votes “wins” for the night and each member immediately writes a check for $100 directly to that organization. Members who commit to 100 Women Who Care but cannot attend the meeting are still required to donate to the chosen charity.
One of the appeals of the 100 Women Who Care is that the money donated is guaranteed to stay local. The group considers charities that serve Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties. Many women who decided to join 100 Women Who Care want to be part of something that has a large impact.
“I hear from many women that they just don’t feel that their $50 donation here or $100 donation there really makes a difference,” explained Marinoff. “By combining $100 donations from this many women, you really feel like you are a part of something big and something that could make big difference!”
THE CHOSEN CHARITY
The three charities presented by members 100 Women Who Care’s first meeting were the Father Fred Foundation, Single MOMM and The Leelanau Outdoor Center. After the ballots were counted, results were extremely close. In the end, Leelanau Outdoor Center, presented by Wendy DesAutels, won by two votes.
The camp initially received $16,000 in donations from the group. However, with local employer matching grants and more women deciding to join after they heard about the first meeting, the total donation ended up being $17,600. They will use the money to help with scholarship assistance for local school kids to be able to come to camp when they otherwise would not be able to.
JOINING 100 WOMEN
Marinoff expects that 100 Women Who Care will continue to grow and make an impact on the different needs in our community.
“We all get approached by organizations to make donations here and there and many people have organizations they are very passionate about and have supported for years,” explains Marinoff.
“Even though only one organization wins the money at the end of the evening, the other two are winners too, simply because now they’ve made contact with nearly 200 women who they might not have had the chance to reach before.”
The second meeting of 100 Women Who Care was to be held on March 15 with following meetings scheduled for June 28 and September 27.