Jill Lavin, Susan Jaffe, Betsy Gorgei, Make A Wish representative Samantha Zipp Dowd, Linda Mathuran and Louise Brophy.
See a problem – solve a problem. That’s how the “100 Women Who Care” movement started.
Karen Dunigan learned that new mothers were bringing their babies home and could not afford a proper crib. The babies were sleeping in boxes, dresser drawers or on the mother’s own beds. Dunigan began thinking about the need and realized she needed $10,000 to purchase cribs, mattresses and blankets. She knew there had to be a quick way to fundraise in her community and then she had a brainstorm. She would find 100 women who would each give $100 for her project. She made the phone calls, scheduled a meeting, and in one hour, she has raised $12,800 to supply new moms with the simplest need: a crib.
Dunigan recognized she was onto something special and she founded the first 100+ Women Who Care Chapter and scheduled quarterly meetings. The rules were simple: any member could present a need in the community, the need had to be immediate and the money had to remain local. The idea was that a worthy cause benefits many in the community — and that 100 or more people coming together in a room could provide a force for doing good work while lifting others up.
There are now more than 350 chapters throughout the world that include women, men and kids. The first chapter in Lower Montgomery County has recently been created by four Potomac women — and they are seeking new members.
One of the founding members, Linda Mathuran, said, “I was visiting my sister who was attending a meeting of her chapter. She told me about 100 Women Who Care — when I Googled it, I saw that there are a lot of chapters and I also found a lot of support in starting one here. There are a lot of helpful resources listed on the website too. Once I mentioned it to Jill Lavin, Louise Brophy and Susan Jaffe, they were immediately on board — and now we are up to 47 members and trying to get to 100 or more. It’s such a no-brainer. We are giving to wonderful local organizations where our donations are truly needed and will be used locally to help people right here in our communities.”
The Lower Montgomery County Chapter of 100 Women Who Care held their first meeting in July at the Potomac Library. Mathuran, Lavin, Brophy and Jaffe were the initiators — and about 30 women came to the meeting, even though it was a rainy, stormy evening. The group listened to presentations by three charities, and chose the Make-A-Wish, Montgomery County as its first charity. Women who are members may make presentations about favorite local charities or representatives from charities are invited to make a short presentation about how they will use the donated funds from this group.
“Everyone at our last meeting was impressed and moved by the charity presentations,” Mathuran said.
Lavin added, “How can you resist joining? It’s all for the good. I also like that we learn about three charities that are doing really meaningful work in our community — and it’s only held four times a year for a hour each time.”
At the second meeting in October, the group chose to donate to Montgomery Kids, an organization that helps to support the needs of children in the welfare system with services and opportunities that are not available to them through the system. They might provide ballet, art or piano lessons or funds to join a sports team — those extras that youngsters deserve to have a chance to participate in but often cannot because their family cannot afford it.
The next meeting will be held on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the River Falls Club House in Potomac. New members are welcome to attend. To RSVP or to learn more about 100 Women Who Care, contact Mathuran through email at email@example.com.