By Pat Maurer
Stephanie Graham found a unique way to make something good out of a horrible situation last year, and now it has blossomed into a non-profit group, 100 + Women in Clare (and surrounding area) Who Care,” that donated $43,300 to four worthy causes last year.
It is all the brainchild of Graham. She said it started last February.
Stephanie said “The group started because of the pandemic and the sadness I was experiencing, losing hope in humanity. I made a Facebook post asking if there were any groups of this kind in the area. I was answered with ‘No, but if you start one, I will join’.”
She continued, “I did a little research and found out what I needed to get it started.” She started a Facebook page in February, 2021 and invited all of her female friends to join. “Those friends invited their friends, and so on and so forth.”
By March there were 100 members in the new non-profit group. There are no monthly meetings and no agenda at the quarterly meeting.
She said, “There is no committee, I am the organizer of this group and there are no officers…this is 100 plus women who get together to write a check four times a year and donate to an organization.”
In the first quarter of 2021 the very first checks went out to Joshua’s House totaling $10,000. For the second quarter of the year, in June $10,100 went to a local young lady battling Ewing’s Sarcoma; The 3rd quarter donation – $11,800 – went to the Clare Area Weekend Backpack Program in September. Finally, in December, the 4th quarter checks totaling $11,400 went to Northern Michigan Alliance for Children.
The 100+ Women Who Clare organization now has 158 committed members who get together (in person or virtually) for about an hour once every three months, vote on a worthy cause, and each write a $100 check to an organization the group has selected. “I do opt out of the voting,” Stephanie said.
She added, “It is very casual.” She said she provides snacks and “we just enjoy each other’s company. The winner is announced and members can write their checks right there.”
Stephanie collects the checks and presents all of them (each written directly to the organization the group has chosen) to the winning organization.
Stephanie keeps up the Facebook page. “I keep everyone up to date on nominations, due dates, meeting dates, etc. I also post a lot of inspirational things, because we all need this joy and positivity in our lives.”
She said, “I truly love all these ladies, they inspire me. When I am having a bad day. I just go to the Facebook page, and am reminded how many amazing women are in this world. I hope all of our members do the same thing.”
The future goals for the organization are: to reach 200+ committed members; to provide safe in-person meetings where like-minded women can gather and celebrate the donation that will be made; and a growing membership working together to make a difference in the lives of others. Reach 200 +
To summarize, Stephanie drafted a basic statement for others about the group.
She wrote, “100+ Women Who Care is a group of women who gather four times a year for a one-hour meeting, learn about local non-profit organizations and each donate a $100 check to the non-profit organization that the group selects. This combined donation of $10,000 (or more) makes a real impact, without time-consuming fundraising events and planning.”
She said the reasons behind 100+ Women Who Care: “If you don’t have time in your busy life to volunteer, but have been wanting to help those in need and you can commit to one hour every three months; if you are involved with other groups, but are interested in meeting other women philanthropists in the area; if you want 100 percent of your donations to go directly to a local non-profit organization; if you want your $100 donations to become a part of a larger amount of money by joining together with other women creating a powerful impact to local non-profit organizations.”
Visit their Facebook page to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277841630363214.