Sometimes the best things start out as something small. Both Rose Zack and Donna Oade have spent their lives volunteering in the Greater Lansing community. Just when they began looking around for their next project, they began to hear of a local women’s group in Jackson, Mich. called ‘100 Women Who Care’ that was doing great things. 100 Women Who Care meets four times a year, with each meeting lasting one hour. Each member agrees to commit to one year at a time, which involves donating $100 at each meeting ($400 total for the year). Local charities or worthy causes are nominated by group members at each meeting by placing their charities’ name in a container. Three nominations are drawn, followed by a five-minute presentation about each charity. A question and answer period follows with as much time that is needed to answer member questions about the nominated charities. The group votes by ballot to determine the recipient of the donation, with the majority ruling. Karen Dunnigan founded the original group in November of 2006 to provide a simple yet effective way to quickly raise money for local charities and non-profit organizations. Inspired by Dunnigan’s success, Zack and Oade decided to create a chapter of their own. “We thought, what is the next thing? And then we found it,” explains Oade. “The idea of a giving group really clicked with us. It was a time in the world when charities and nonprofits whose funds had been greatly depleted were running up against walls and getting nowhere.” Introductory letters were sent out to as many women in the community as they could think of and in March of 2010, the first Greater Lansing 100 Women Who Care meeting was held. “At the first meeting, there were 41 women. Each time we’ve grown. It’s been a joy to be a part of,” says Oade. At the end of their first meeting, the majority ruled and 100 Women Who Care wrote a check to its first recipient, Caring About Kids, a local private charitable group that provides foster children resources that are not covered by the stipend given to foster parents. Since then, Greater Lansing 100 Women Who Care has given more than $230,000 locally to 19 different charities, including organizations such as Haven House, Eve Inc., Old Newsboys Association of Lansing and many more. Donations are not limited to a specific kind of cause, so long as the cause is worthy. “Our donations are not just for organizations that help women and children,” says Oade. “In December of 2011, we donated to Joshua’s place, a home for developmentally disabled young men. We are open to donating to any charity or worthy cause, as long as it is local and truly makes a difference.” While their name may be ‘Greater Lansing 100 Women Who Care’, their membership has grown to over 175 women in the past four years. Any woman who would like to be a part of the group is welcome, with their next meeting set for Dec. 9, 2014. “We thought we knew a lot before starting this group but we’ve learned so much since our first meeting. We feel we have helped in more ways than one,” says Oade. For more information or to become a member, visit greaterlansing 100womenwhocare.com.
Kalynne McIntyre is the Digital Branding Specialist at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. She loves action movies, puppies and all things Italian.