100 Women Who Care celebrate five years of giving

MANISTEE — There are an impressive number of community organizations in Manistee County, and each provide a unique benefit for residents in the community, from at-risk youth and struggling families, to animal services and environmental assistance.

Behind every organization, however, are many generous community members who donate time and money to ensure these groups can continue to serve the county.

Members of the 100 Women Who Care chapter in Manistee County have continued to support a variety of organizations in the area, and are celebrating five years of giving at their next quarterly meeting.

Manistee County first began involvement in the 100 Who Care Alliance in January 2014, according to co-founding member Judy Crockett.

“Jennie Marie Naffie had belonged to a group in Muskegon and she came to me and said, ‘I think we should start one in Manistee,’” said Crockett. “And so we did.”

A men’s group, 100 Men Who Care, was founded a year later by Al Fry and Dick Albee.
Although the 100 Who Care Alliance has chapters globally, the organization had humble beginnings right here in Michigan.

“The original 100 Women Who Care was actually founded in Lansing by a woman named Karen Dunigan, and she was charged with raising $10,000 for a group in the area,” said Crockett. “Being the busy woman that she was, she realized she didn’t have time for a fundraiser and so she realized if she found 100 people willing to donate $100, she would reach the goal. And that’s how she founded the group.”

Crocket said the meetings are very simple, and are held four times per year for an hour each.
“You sign a membership commitment form that says you will participate for the year,” she said. “As a member, when you come into the one hour meeting, you can submit the name of an agency that you would like to see funded.”

An organization is written on a piece of paper and placed in a hat to be randomly selected, with the requirements that it has to be a Manistee County organization and all the funds have to stay within the county.

“We draw three names out of that hat at random, and the person who put that name in has five minutes to make a pitch about why we should donate to that organization,” said Crockett. “Then we do a five minute question and answer. We do that three times, and we literally use a timer to keep meetings at one hour.”

After three organizations are drawn, members decide which organization to select by voting.

“We have between 65 and 70 members, so over the course of one hour, we can raise $6,500 to $7,000 with no fundraising, no ticket sales, no bake sales and no auctions,” said Crockett. “It’s a very quick way to raise a lot of money to support a local organization.”

In just five years, adding up to only 36 hours worth of meetings, she said that both groups have raised over $165,000.

Crockett felt that organizations are able to accomplish significant tasks with the funds donated each quarter.

“Little Mary’s Hospitality House in Wellston came to us needing to remodel one of their bathrooms to make it handicap accessible,” she said. “We gave them just over $7,000, and with donated labor, they were able to remodel two bathrooms.”

In the past year alone, the local chapters have supported numerous organizations including the Armory Youth Project, CHOICES of Manistee, Manistee County Spay and Neuter Action Group, Hearts for Critters, Homeward Bound Animal Shelter, Arts & Culture Alliance of Manistee County, Northern Pathways and Marilla Food Bank.

“We gave the Armory Youth Project quite a bit of money last year and they were able to complete their kitchen,” Crockett said. “That kitchen now furnishes meals every day to kids.”

Crockett felt that members not only help support local organizations through donations, they also learn more about a variety of groups in the county who they may be unfamiliar with.

“Every quarter we hear about different organizations in our county and the good work that they are doing,” she said. “During the question and answer part, we get to challenge the person giving that presentation. How are the dollars going to be used, what over money do you have, and who are you serving in our county? You learn a lot.”

Crockett said both chapters welcome anyone who is interested in becoming a member to attend a meeting, and they are always looking to grow.

“The nice thing is, you know exactly what you are in for. You are also welcome to come to a meeting and observe and network,” she said. “Each person gives a total of $400 each year, spread out among four organizations.”

Both groups meet quarterly in January, April, July and October at the Bungalow Inn in Manistee — 100 Women Who Care meet from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of those months, and 100 Men Who Care meet from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday.

“We encourage anyone to check it out and see if it’s for them,” she said. “We’re really pleased, at the end of five years, with how much has happened.”

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