100 Women Who Care
Writer / Frieda Dowler – Photographer / Ron Stiemert
Women are nurturers by nature. We start with baby dolls, kittens and puppies, and then our heart grows to include children, school organizations and grandchildren. Just when we think we’ve run out of someone to nurture, we become volunteers and donors in order to help improve our communities. And in our wildest dreams, we become philanthropists.
A PHILANTHROPIC IDEA
Four women brought a philanthropic idea to Johnson County that will greatly improve this community by leveraging four hours a year and a $500 commitment per person. Combining what the power of 100 women can do, they plan to give $10,000 in one hour to a local nonprofit organization four times a year.
In December 2015, Carol Phipps, Dorcus Abplanalp, Cheryl Morphew and Gail Richards formed a chapter of a national organization named 100 Women Who Care. These ladies believed they could interest 100 women to join together to make a $40,000 annual impact on Johnson County nonprofit organizations. If each woman would commit to a one-hour meeting, $100 per quarter and an additional $100 to be held for a future endowment, it would leverage individual contributions to make a significant impact.
Forty-eight women attended the first meeting in February 2016 at Hillview Country Club in Franklin. They were eager to learn about the needs in the community but also to address those needs with a financial gift at the end of the evening.
After a brief social time, each member has the opportunity to silently nominate a nonprofit organization within Johnson County. The organization nominated must have a 501(c)(3) status. The supporter must come prepared to advocate for that organization. Three organizations are chosen in a random drawing process. Each supporter is given five minutes to speak about the needs of that organization and five minutes to answer questions.
Each attendee then choses one of those organizations through a ballot process to be the recipient of the donations that evening. Once the recipient is announced, each woman simultaneously write a check for $100 to that organization.
With 48 women in attendance that first meeting, the total gift was $4,800 to the Interchurch Food Pantry, the first recipient of these women’s generosity.
MAKING AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT
In a ceremony two weeks later, the Johnson County Community Foundation, who manages the funds for 100 Women Who Care, presented the Interchurch Food Pantry with a check. One can only imagine the joy from the volunteers upon receiving this gift when shortly before this, the furnaces quit working, and they were operating in the cold of February with only space heaters. This “no strings attached gift” allowed them to have the necessary repairs made to their facility.
At the second meeting May 12, the energy in the room at the Elks Lodge in Franklin was charged. With new members added, 71 women heard strong advocacy as three organizations were nominated.
After the voting, each wrote a $100 check to Esperanza in Jesus, a missionary organization which helps legal immigrants assimilate into our country through a mentoring process. In one hour, they were awarded a gift of $7,100.
Although recipients are not eligible to receive another gift for two years, these organizations are given the financial gift without restriction on how the money can be used. Often a grant writing process is lengthy or fundraising efforts are involved, but this philanthropic group plans to have an immediate impact on a nonprofit organization within Johnson County four times each year.
GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION
The Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF) is the perfect partner to handle finances for 100 Women Who Care because JCCF also manages funds for other nonprofits in the community and has the experience and resources to do so.
The next two meetings will be held August 11 and November 10 at the Elks Lodge at 56 E. Jefferson in Franklin. They are seeking to increase the membership. When membership reaches 100, they will change the name to 100+ Women Who Care. Guests are welcome. An RSVP is required along with $10 to cover refreshments. An application for membership can be downloaded from the JCCF website.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
The first chapter of 100 Women Who Care was formed in Jackson, Michigan, in 2006 and has grown to 125 chapters nationwide and 350 internationally. It is affiliated with an international organization named 100 Who Care Alliance which includes men’s and kid’s chapters. A national convention is held every other year where chapter leaders can be in community with one another and share ideas about best practices.
During the 2015 convention, the keynote speaker Marilyn Foster Kirk, a nonprofit fundraising professional, said giving circles are new ventures in philanthropy comprised of mostly females, and 50 percent are under the age of 40 with incomes of $50,000-$99,999, proving you don’t have to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist.