KAWARTHA LAKES-In just four hours, “100 Women Who Care Kawartha Lakes” raised and donated almost $60,000 to local charities in the last year.
100 Women Who Care was brought to the City of Kawartha Lakes in 2016 by three local powerhouse women. Sharon Robbins, Sharon Smith-Carter and Bella Alderton are all friends and when one of them saw an article on 100 Women Who Care, all three of them immediately jumped on board. “We decided it would be a really great idea and I thought it was a no brainer” says Sharon Smith-Carter. “The concept was really amazing and Sharon C thought we’d get about 75 people out to our first meeting, Bella thought 60 and I thought we’d be lucky to get 50” Sharon Robbins told Kawartha 411.
120 women showed up the first night.
100 Women Who Care was started in November of 2006 by Karen Dunigan of Jackson, Michigan, as a brilliantly simple way to raise money efficiently and quickly for local charities.
The concept is simple. The women meet three times a year for one hour. All members can nominate a charity of their choice for consideration. Nominations must be a registered not for profit or charity that services the Kawartha Lakes. Nominations close 48 hours before the next meeting and all members receive an email with a list of charities that have been nominated and a link to their website so they can research the organization. On the day of the meeting all nominees are put in a hat and three are drawn to give presentations to the group. Each charity then has five minutes to make their case followed by a two minute Q and A. Then it’s time to vote. All of the members can cast a vote for the charity they feel would benefit the most. Once a winner is chosen the women write a $100 cheque directly to the charity.
The impact is huge. The first meeting raised $13,000 and the Kawartha Food Source was the winning charity. “The Kawartha Food Source sent us a letter and it talked about what it meant to receive the money, how much milk they could buy and how long it would cover the milk program” says Robbins. “The notion that these would be things we could help fix in our community and see the change immediately really seemed to appeal.”
A Place Called Home (APCH)received more than $14,000 from the August 2016 meeting. APCH is a homeless shelter in Lindsay with up to 25 residents. According to Robbins “A Place Called Home sent us pics and they had re-done the laundry facility with a professional quality washer and dryer so that all of the people that stay there could use these facilities and I think in the first three days they did 70 loads of laundry.”
However, it was a donation to the Kinsmen Toy Drive that really brought home the importance of what they are doing. “We went and the cupboards were bare and they were really worried that year and didnt know how they were going to do it so this was a godsend for them” Smith-Carter recalls. $15,500 buys a lot of toys!
The Community Care Dental Program was the successful charity from the March 2017 meeting. $15,450 was donated to the low income dental program.
100 Women Who Care Kawartha Lakes now has 210 members. “It’s empowering, it’s like a community of hearts really” says Robbins. The downside is that everyone feels bad for the charities that aren’t picked. “It’s really hard when a good cause isn’t picked. We are kind of like-make sure you come back and try again”
Just because a charity isn’t chose for a donation doesn’t mean the 100 Women exposure wasn’t a success. There’s been a ripple effect. At the last meeting of 2016 the Kawartha Lakes Conservation Area was a presenter but they didn’t win. They had wanted the money to build a new Osprey viewing platform to replace one that had to be dismantled because it wasn’t safe. They even had a private donor who would have matched the funds donated by 100 women had they won. But all was not lost. “After the meeting a private donor went and paid for the whole thing to be done after being told about the presentation.” organizers say. At another meeting the Kawartha Lakes Humane Society made a presentation looking to buy a scale and microscope. They were not chosen so after the meeting one of the members donated the full $1000 for the equipment. The woman say they find that very rewarding.
The Academy Theatre and Olympia restaurant in Lindsay donate the space for the meetings.
The next meeting is June 20th at the Academy. They are looking for members from some of the smaller communities such as Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls and Janetville etc.
For more information or to become a member go to http://www.100womenkawarthalakes.ca.