In 2006, a woman named Karen Dunigan in Jackson, Michigan, had $100 to give to charity, and an epiphany: Her 100 bucks by itself wouldn’t do much, but what if she could round up $100 donations from 99 other women? Within an hour, her new group had raised $10,000 to give to a health center that provided cribs to needy families.
That’s how the 100 Women Who Care movement started. Now, it’s come to Snohomish County. One of two local chapters, 100 Women Who Care of Snohomish County is hosting its first meeting April 24 in Everett.
Founders Dani Hixon, 60, of Lake Stevens, and Janet Bacon, 67, of Everett, joined the greater Seattle area’s chapter of 100 Women Who Care last year. The two friends were carpooling home from a chapter meeting, brainstorming ways to make a more local impact. So they decided to form their own chapter.
Hixon, Bacon and another founding member, Susan Rieke, emailed all their friends about joining the new chapter and asked them to help spread the word. Now, the group has nearly 80 members, ranging in age between 20 and 80.
“It feels good to do good,” Hixon said. “It takes away some of the divisiveness that we have going on in our society. It’s a coming together and a way to show people we have common ground.”
Kim Olafson, 61, another chapter member, said, “My $100 doesn’t look like a lot, but if I can get 99 of my friends together and each contribute $100, what a huge impact to a nonprofit in our community,”
Today, there are hundreds of chapters around the world with the same mission, including 10 in Washington, Bacon said. Most are made up of all women.
The new local chapter hopes to have 100 members by April 24 for the fundraising event at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Everett.
If more than 100 turn up with $100 each, that’s even better. And if you can’t afford to give a C-note, a group of four can chip in $25 each.
Three organizations — Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County in Everett, Work Opportunities in Lynnwood and Faith Food Bank and Community Meal in Everett — are in the running for the $10,000 donation. They were randomly selected from a pool of nominations.
Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County offers free and confidential services, including emergency shelter, legal advocacy, support groups and domestic violence education; Workplace Opportunities provides vocational services to those with disabilities; and Faith Food Bank and Community Meal gives out free meals every Tuesday and runs a free food and clothing bank Thursdays and Fridays.
All three nonprofits have been asked to pitch why they deserve the money. After that, chapter members will vote for the one organization they would like to receive the donation.
Though other chapters around the world are open to everybody, core members of the local chapter voted to keep it exclusive to women.
“Women right now are doing so much in our county and government that we wanted to ride the all-women thing,” Olafson said. “If any men want to contribute, we’ll encourage them to start up their own group.”
Bacon and Hixon said the Seattle group’s meetings were fun and lively and that theirs on April 24 should be no different.
“The meetings I’ve been to are a blast — they’re high-energy,” Bacon said. “The cool thing is that we get to meet other competent, caring women.”
For Bacon, a longtime donor to nonprofits, being part of 100 Women Who Care is about being empowered for good.
“We talk about our world and (how) there are a lot of difficulties going on,” she said. “If we can just help in one little piece of our world — just make some positive impact on what we can control — I’ll feel ecstatic.”
The chapter is Snohomish County’s second; a south county chapter founded in 2018 has raised $19,000 for local nonprofits, including Matthew House, Cocoon House, Beck’s Place, Take the Next Step and Washington Kids in Transition.
The south county group, which has nearly 70 members, meets four times a year to pool donations.
“They’re excited for us and we’re excited for them,” Bacon said. “There’s enough compassionate women in our community to do both.
“It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
The 100 Who Care chapter based in Everett will have its inaugural meeting 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 24 at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, 1216 Broadway, Everett. Donations made through the group are tax-deductible. For more information, call 214-883-4820 or email email@example.com.
Do you live in south county? The south Snohomish County chapter 100+ Women Who Care also is welcoming new members. Its next meeting is set for June 10. More at www. 100wwcsnohomishcounty.com.