Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

100+ Women Who Care raise $33,000 for southeast Iowa nonprofits

Blackhawk Chapter focused on increasing membership since launching in November 2016
Jun 28, 2018
Photo by: Submitted Members of 100+ Women Who Care hold up a check for $6,300 for the Kayla Atkins Foundation following their second quarter meeting in 2017. Since launching November 2016, the Blackhawk chapter for the 100+ Women Who Care have raised $33,000 for seven southeast Iowa based nonprofits.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News

 

The philosophy behind 100+ Women Who Care is so simple founder and president of the Blackhawk Chapter Candice Becker finds people have a difficult time understanding it.

Four times a year, members show up to a venue, make a donation of at least $100, vote on which southeast Iowa based nonprofit they want the money to be directed to and bid farewell until the next gathering.

Since the chapter was launched November 2016, seven nonprofits have been donation recipients for a total of $33,000 raised since their founding as of June 2018. While their membership sits at 75, Becker hopes to reach the 100-membership mark by the end of the year.

“Some of our events are emotional, learning about needs you didn’t know existed,” Becker said. “It tugs at the heartstrings. It’s happy, and there’s tears.”

The most recent recipient is Henry County Youth for Christ, chosen during the May 31 meeting at the Burlington Golf Club. So far $3,650 was raised; however, donations are still coming in through the mail.

Recipients are chosen by 100+ Women Who Care members. At the start of each event, members have the chance to nominate a nonprofit. Three names are drawn, and nominating members get three to five minutes to share about the nonprofit before everyone votes on which one the donations will go to that evening.

The goal is to eventually raise $10,000 at each event.

May 100+ Women Who Care recipient Henry County Youth for Christ (HCYFC) launched their chapter just over a year ago, mentoring students, hosting after school programs and building relationships with students. Parnell Davis, with HCYFC, said they are in the midst of strategic planning for the 2019 calendar year — and the donations from 100+ Women Who Care enable them to keep doing what they’re doing.

Just last week, Davis and other HCYFC leaders spent the day with 23 teenagers from southeast Iowa at the Putt-A-Round miniature golf course in Ft. Madison and then grilled out.

“I was taking one of the young men home and he had tears in his eyes and said no one has ever done anything like this for me,” Davis said. “If it wasn’t for the giving efforts of 100+ Women, we wouldn’t have this opportunity. It’s not just about programming, it’s about the relationships that are built.”

Just like 100+ Women Who Care, HCYFC’s philosophy is to give back. While students can play games involving shaving cream and balloons and attend YFC camp in Iowa or paintball camp in Minnesota, they are also encouraged to give back locally. Davis said this teaches teenagers the value of hard work and getting their hands dirty, leading through example with projects like raking leaves, weeding the community garden and partnering with the Fellowship Cup.

Help to Others (H2O) is another nonprofit in Henry County that was a recipient of 100+ Women Who Care donations in 2017. H2O fundraises and then turns around and gives it right back to people in crisis situations. If they hear someone was in a house fire, they will help by giving them a Wal-Mart gift card. If someone is traveling back and forth from Iowa City or Burlington for cancer treatments, they will pitch in with at least a $100 gas card.

In December, they go through their recipients from the year and give again to families who are continuing to struggle. In December 2017, they gave out almost $2,000.

“It was kind of overwhelming to us,” said Lori Bolin, with H20, adding that the money they received from 100+ Women Who Care definitely helped ends meet last December. “When we all can work together on these kind of things, it’s awesome. Everybody helps everybody else.”

100+ Women Who Care member Denise McCormick, of Mt. Pleasant, was a member of the Iowa City Hawkeye chapter when Becker launched the Blackhawk chapter.

“I just sent her a thank you today for starting it in our area,” McCormick said on Tuesday, June 26. “It’s so powerful when you get women together and they decide to support something that is of value to them, and they get to choose what it is they are going to be supporting.”

While a nonprofit she has suggested has yet to be chosen, McCormick said it is just as beneficial to make people aware of the needs in the community and what these nonprofits can offer. Instead of being discouraged that her suggestion wasn’t chosen, she is proud that she shed awareness.

Member Jennifer Moutrie, of Mt. Pleasant, joined a little over a year ago, finding it an easy and positive way to support local charities. For her, it’s been an “absolutely positive” experience seeing the generosity of other members and the difference it can make in Southeast Iowa.

“Alone we can do so little, but together, we can make a huge impact,” Moutrie said. “The philosophy behind the organization, the energy, the passion, I support it 100 percent.”

Over the past year and a half, Becker said she and the board have learned so much more about the needs in their communities. That said, she feels like the organization has missed some outreach opportunities. As they look to their goal of 100 members by the end of the year, Becker is focused on increasing awareness, particularly in Ft. Madison and Fairfield.

“We’re going to do more to get out there and educate the community on what this organization is all about,” Becker promised.

100+ Women Who Care is a national organization with chapters all over the U.S. The next Blackhawk chapter meeting is at Airport Road Vineyard in Mt. Pleasant on Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to anyone who is curious about becoming a member. Appetizers will be served, and a cash bar is available.

“There’s no obligation if someone came one night,” McCormick said. “When I went to my first meeting I said I need to belong. Then I can ask people I know to join too.”

To learn more about 100+ Women Who Care Blackhawk chapter or become a member, visit www. 100whocareblackhawk.com.

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