‘100 Women Who Care’ launches next month

Two local women are spearheading a group that aims to make a major impact in a short amount of time.

The group 100 Women Who Care, led by Cindy Jefferies and Susan Knopp, aims to raise $10,000 in a single hour, and will do so four times over the course of 2015.

The first meeting will take place on Feb. 9th at 7 p.m. at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. and RSVPS are to be sent to 100womenreddeer@gmail.com or to be made on the group’s facebook page.

“Basically, you try and get 100 women – or more – together four times a year for one hour each time. Each member commits to write four $100 cheques in a year. At each meeting, members will nominate local charitable organizations that they think could really use the money. At the meeting, three nominees are drawn and each member that put those organizations up is asked to speak about their organization for about five minutes,” explained organization co-chair Jefferies.

Currently there are groups set up all across Canada and the United States with some newer groups emerging in Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s meant to be a very casual, friendly environment. There are no PowerPoints, no official presentations. Obviously, we want people to put some thought into nominating these organizations. You speak for five minutes, off the cuff and from the heart about why you would like to see that particular organization receive those funds.”

All of the funds collected go directly to the designated organization.

The group has zero administrative fees and no overhead payments to make. The meeting space has also been sponsored, as is typical for many of the other 100 Women Who Care groups.

“This gives us a chance as a community to hear from different organizations about the work that they’re doing in our community. It also gives a voice to some of the smaller charities that don’t have capacity to host a big event, say like the Festival of Trees, or a gala of sorts,” Jefferies said.

“I think that some of the smaller organizations around have a chance to benefit here. It’s obviously not closed to bigger groups, but it just gives the smaller groups a shot at getting some recognition.”

Jefferies caught the idea of bringing this endeavour to Red Deer after witnessing her cousin give a presentation at a Calgary chapter meeting. Knopp decided to support her friend and the two have been working hard to set up the first meeting.

Jefferies said that part of the reason she likes this format of informal, brief meetings is because it fits into the busy lifestyle that many people face.

She said that she knows people who want to do good, but find themselves in a constant time-crunch, so the format of quarterly, hour-long meetings seems suitable.

Women can join together to form a group that donates a total of $100, or they can donate individually. Each group will count as a single vote for the purposes of deciding which organization to donate to.

“For women who commit to joining our organization, they need to know that this is a commitment to four $100 cheques and four meetings, even if they have to send their money with someone else for one of those meetings,” Jefferies said.

“If you decide to do it as a team, you can make your annual commitment a little bit easier to reach.”

Jefferies said that they hope for good attendance and an interest in the community for their organization. She will also be looking for sponsors in the future to cover costs of things such as room rentals for meetings, as the organization will not be taking any of the funds collected.