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Local women find power (to help) in numbers

Founded in 2017, the South Georgian Bay chapter of 100 Women Who Care has contributed $265,300 to charities in the community
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In September, the chapter selected E3 Community Services, which received a total of $19,700. 

A group of over 100 local women are leveraging the power of pooled resources to support local charities. 

The South Georgian Bay chapter of 100 Women Who Care comprises women from across Collingwood, Creemore, Meaford, Stayner, Thornbury and Wasaga Beach who share a common interest in making a difference in their community. 

The concept itself is quite simple: four times a year, each member contributes $100, which then gets pooled and donated to a charity located in South Georgian Bay. 

“By combining our resources, we have a tremendous impact on the important work of charities within our community,” said Catherine Daw, a Collingwood local and one of the founding members of 100 Women Who Care South Georgian Bay. 

The original 100 Women Who Care actually started in 2006 in Jackson, Michigan, when a woman saw a need in her community. She thought about asking 10 friends for $1,000 to donate, but then realized asking 100 women for $100 would probably be easier. 

In under one hour, the initial group of women raised over $10,000. Since then, women across North America have embraced this simple yet powerful concept as a way to engage with their community and provide much-needed assistance to charities that can make a real difference.

The South Georgian Bay chapter was first established in 2017. Daw had heard of the idea, which has also been called a “giving circle." When she moved to Collingwood permanently, she thought it would be the perfect place to start. 

She recruited a steering committee in June, and by the time they launched in September 2017, the chapter already had 120 members before they even got to their first meeting. 

“It just took off like wildfire,” said Daw. 

The South Georgian Bay chapter now has approximately 190 members. 

A steering committee of seven women oversees the chapter on a volunteer basis. Any costs associated with the operations are funded through individual and sponsor donations; 100 per cent of the money raised by the membership goes directly to the selected charities. 

“There is so much need in the community on so many levels,” said Daw. “We are very lucky and fortunate that all of our members can afford to put out that much money a year.” 

Charities are nominated by members and in preparation of each meeting, three charities are randomly selected from those that have been nominated. Then, at each meeting, the member who nominated the selected charity gives a five-minute presentation about the charity and how the donation would be used if the charity is selected. 

Prior to COVID-19, the group would meet in person to vote on which charity would receive the funding for the respective quarter; they now host the meetings via Zoom. Meetings are held in September, November, March and May. 

Charities that received a donation are eligible to be nominated again after a three-year period.

“The intent is that we want to share the love with as many charities in the region as we possibly can,” said Daw. “Our range has been quite interesting in terms of the types of the charities we’ve donated to.”

At the most recent meeting in September, the chapter selected E3 Community Services, which received a total of $19,700. 

“The reason I love this concept is that it is a substantial amount of money going to a charity that can really make a difference,” said Daw. 

Since 2017, the chapter has contributed $265,300 to the community. Past recipients include Habitat for Humanity, My Friend’s House, Out of the Cold Collingwood, Beaver Valley Outreach, Hope Haven, and so many more. 

Charities that have received a donation are asked to provide an update at the next meeting explaining what the funds have been used for. 

The 100 Women of South Georgian Bay are always looking for new members who want to get involved. They recently received a donation from the Creemore Brewery, which they used to revamp their website and start building their presence on social media. 

“Since we’ve done the social media work we’ve had more members join who are younger, which is really exciting for us because we want to get as many women involved as possible,” said Daw.