One of the main goals for my 50 Feats was to find ways of giving back to my community. A little searching took me to the website for 100 Women Who Care – Niagara. The organization is worldwide with 350 chapters in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Singapore, the Carribean, and British Isles. Niagara’s group is organized by Sylvia Berezowski and has a membership of over 170 women. The idea behind 100 Women is to provide funds to local community causes by coming together for an hour at 4 times during the year and donating $100 per person on these occasions to a selected Niagara charity. In a single hour, 3 charities that have been nominated by members are randomly selected and their representatives provide a brief explanation of the cause and how monies will be used if chosen. Members then vote and one of the charities wins the donations for that meeting.
This wonderful group is completely volunteer-run, resulting in all of the money collected going directly to the organizations selected. An amazing $17,000 -$19,000 has been donated to each of the chosen organizations in the last 2 years. I am especially appreciative of also having the opportunity not only to support my community, but also learn about a number of not-for-profits and charities that I didn’t even know existed in Niagara including support for children’s breakfast programs, mentorships, hospice, native women, and supportive cancer care.
The meeting I attended saw a room full of dedicated women in attendance, despite the having to brave a particularly cold evening. The evening began with a presentation from the last meeting’s recipient: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Niagara Falls. The Executive Director spoke eloquently about their individual and group mentoring programs for children and the positive impact that the $17,100 donated by 100 Women will provide.
Next, the evening’s 3 charities were randomly selected from the 25 that had been nominated by members. Representatives for The Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara, TASC Niagara (supporting children and adults living with disabilities), and The David Gregory Mckinnon Memorial Foundation (education and advocacy for families affected by kidney disease) each gave heartfelt presentations about their charities.
I found it difficult to choose from these wonderful organizations, but am comforted by the fact that those who are not selected are eligible to be considered again. As well, knowing that the funds donated will go to a great cause no matter who wins makes it very easy to give.
As my sister is a kidney donation recipient (her husband gave her one of his kidneys – talk about true love!), I have a special place in my heart for lifesaving organ transplant programs. In addition, the presentation by David’s mother about the loss of her beautiful son, and her mission to raise funds to support others living with kidney disease in his name, was powerful, especially to a room full of Moms like me. David’s charity was selected.
We wrote our cheques out to the Foundation, and the whole event was wrapped up in one hour. I feel privileged to participate in this group with an incredible group of caring women, giving back, pooling our resources to support our local community. For only 4 hours and $400 over the course of a year, 100 Women Who Care Niagara is proof positive that one person can make a difference, and when they come together, 100+ women can change our world.
More information about joining 100 Women Who Care in your area can be found at http://www.100womenwhocare.org/ .
Next up: More female fundraising fun: the 6th Annual Women and Wellness Niagara