P.E.I. chapter of 100 Women Who Care co-organizers Valerie Docherty, left, and Aileen Matters are helping to spearhead the formation of this group, which uses $100 donations from its members at four annual meetings to make a big impact on communities through local charitable and non-profit organization programs.
©GUARDIAN PHOTO BY MARY MACKAY
It is said there is strength in numbers.
And for one new Prince Edward Island women’s organization, the magic number to start with is 100.
That is the minimum amount of members that the P.E.I. chapter of the 100 Women Who Care group needs to begin to make a big impact on the local community.
The premise is each member commits to donating $400 annually; $100 of which will be presented to one of three charities at four separate events held over the course of the year.
These charities are nominated beforehand and have a chance to present their cause on the night of the event. At the end of the night, all the individual $100 cheques are made out to the winning charity.
“It strikes everyone who hears about it. When you experience it you really get the feeling that it’s a great way to make a big impact for a charity by each person there doing a very small part; an hour of your time and a $100 cheque. And a local charity, whether it be an autism centre or a lunch program at a local school, whatever it may be, when 100 people are willing to put $100 together and make $10,000, in one hour this charity (could go) from having nothing in their bank account to having $10,000 and be able to carry out what they need to do for the community,” says Aileen Matters, who has been working with a number of other Island women to organize the inaugural meeting of the P.E.I. chapter of 100 Women Who Care on June 10 at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown.
“The emotional charge that everyone gets there — because you can see the reaction of the people from the charities who have just given their presentation and just been awarded the money — it’s just overwhelming. It’s like a fever once you catch it,” adds Matters, who was briefly part of a new 100 Women Who Care group in Saint John, N.B.
When she recently returned to P.E.I., she contacted former UPEI classmates Valerie Docherty and Michele Dorsey about the idea of starting a P.E.I. chapter of 100 Women Who Care, which have been popping up like wildfire in various forms across the country in recent years since it was first started in Jackson, Mich., by Karen Dunigan in 2008.
“It’s really cool. It’s not a really difficult thing to do because the framework (is there),” Matters says.
“It’s a simple idea. You don’t have to handle any money. The cheques are all written to the charity (which has to have registered charitable status). The charity writes their tax receipts, which they are used to doing. It’s just getting a group of women organized who are willing to do this. It’s an easy concept and it really works well.”
While the idea is to have a minimum of 100 people in a group, the more the merrier after that. Each member commits to donating a total of $400 and attending four one-hour meetings per year.
This type of charitable commitment is ideal for certain people who are extremely pressed for time but still want to contribute in a valuable way to their community.
“I realize that it’s a certain group of women who can afford to commit to this, but I also realize that same type of woman has so many pressures on her from various (directions), both professional, personal and things like that,” says Docherty.
“It’s almost like someone is handing me an easy way to make a difference without me having to sell the tickets and do all the (fundraising) things that have a lot more time commitment to them.”
This is also a way for local charities and non-profit organizations to benefit from an influx of money to which they might not otherwise have access.
These are grass-roots agencies that work in the community so Islanders will feel the direct effect of the $40,000 minimum total raised by the 100 Women Who Care group.
Members fill out nomination forms. Grant Thornton accounting and business advisory firm in Charlottetown will then conduct a draw for three organizations a week before the meeting.
In addition to the Confederation Centre providing the venue, Results Marketing and Advertising did the group’s website and Kwik Kopy is covering their printing needs, such as ballots.
Representatives from those three charities then give a brief verbal presentation at the meeting about their organization and a description of the project or cause to which the money will be directed.
“In the case of the two that are not successful, they can be nominated again so it’s not a matter of one chance and you’re out. So that’s good,” Docherty says.
“(In subsequent meetings) while the ballots are being counted the winning charity from the previous meeting will give a presentation on what they did with the money. So they come back,” Matters adds.
In Canada, there are now also 100 Men Who Care groups and 100 People Who Care groups, which have both male and female members.
The organizers of the P.E.I. chapter are open to expansion to include males as well in the future if that seems the direction that the group is headed.
“Everyone who hears about the concept says, ‘Yes! I want to be a part of it!’” Matters says.
AT A GLANCE
Who: 100 Women Who Care brings together 100 or more people who care about local community causes and who are committed to community service.
How: Meet for an hour. Jointly select a local charity or not-for-profit organization. Each write a $100 cheque to the selected organization and watch how the group's commitment turns into a $10,000-plus donation. Do that four times a year and witness how $40,000 can improve the lives of neighbours when placed in the hands of deserving local agencies working to serve the community.
When: The inaugural meeting of the P.E.I. chapter of 100 Women Who Care is being held on June 10 at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. Registration is at 5 p.m. Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. There is still time to join the group.
For more information and for the online commitment form: Visit www.100womenpei.com/ or the 100 Women Who Care P.E.I. Facebook page.