A decade ago, Karen Dunigan of Jackson, Michigan, wanted to make a difference. Specifically, she wanted to assist an organization in her area, the Center for Family Health, with their need for mattresses, blankets and beds. The small amount of money she could individually donate didn’t seem like it would have that much of an impact. She had an ingenious idea and launched a group called 100 Women Who Care. At the first meeting, each woman wrote a check for about $100, for a grand total of more than $12,000, which was then given to a local organization in need.
The 100 Women Who Care initiative has now grown into an alliance that includes women, men and kids and is now called The Power of 100. In the past decade, more than 400 chapters have begun throughout the world. Currently, there are three chapters located in the Twin Cities, with its newest chapter right here in the northwest metro.
The co-founders of the Power of 100 Northwest, Linda Carlson and Mikki Northuis, started the all-women’s group in January 2016. Carlson isn’t new to the game. She has been a member of the Minneapolis chapter since 2012. She wanted to bring the organization closer to her home. In less than a year, the northwest chapter has already accumulated 53 members and counting.
The meetings are short and sweet, but the difference they make in the surrounding community is having a profound impact. At their first meeting in April, the group raised $3,435 during an hour-long session. The money was given to a non-profit in Anoka called Hope 4 Youth, a program that serves youth facing homelessness. A representative from Hope 4 Youth then came to the next Power of 100 Northwest meeting to share how the organization used the donated money. The generous contribution is helping fund the building of a short-term living facility for homeless youth in the area, which was scheduled to open in November.
The group meets quarterly (January, April, July and October) on the third Tuesday of the month. Their meeting space has been provided by Rush Creek Golf Club. Social hour is from 6 to 7 p.m., and the meeting is held from 7 to 8 p.m.
Up to two weeks before a scheduled meeting, members can nominate local charities that they would like to donate to. Charities must be local non-profit organizations that have been in good standing for at least two years. Then, during the meeting, members hear about three of those local charities, which have been randomly selected from all of the submissions (the nominating member gives a brief presentation, followed by a Q&A). Each member then votes on which charity they would like to select. Each person writes a $100 check to the charity that receives the most votes. Members can also work in teams and contribute $100 as a group. If a member is under age 30, they can participate as an associate member and donate $30 at each meeting. All donations are tax deductible. The charity that receives the money is encouraged to attend the following meeting to share how the funds were allocated.
The Power of 100 is a quick and effective way to raise money and makes a difference within the community. Not only do people learn about all of the wonderful charities in and around the area, but they feel good about helping and “make some wonderful connections and friendships along the way,” says Northuis. It is a win-win situation all around.
Organizations funded this year by The Power of 100 NW include: HOPE 4 Youth, Cars For Neighbors and We Can Ride.