100+ Women Who Care - SML

STEP is one of several local nonprofits 100+ Women Who Care — SML has donated to in recent years.

Living through this pandemic has changed the way most people live their lives each day. Work lives have changed, social lives are not the same and ways of contributing to the community have been altered as well. The same is true for 100+ Women Who Care — SML.

The group was supposed to gather in May for its regular meeting to decide which area nonprofit would get one of their three yearly donations, but the rule prohibiting large gatherings squelched that. In response to the need in the area the group decided to do something different.

Here is how the 100 Women Who Care model usually works. When someone joins, they sign a commitment card for one year. At each meeting they agree to contribute $100 to whichever nonprofit is selected. Members can nominate a nonprofit at each meeting.

Several nominations are whittled down to three at each meeting. The three nominators present background information on the nonprofits and then the members vote and the nonprofit with the most votes gets the money from that meeting.

Even if members do not attend the meeting, they have committed to support the nonprofit selected. It is called collective giving and through that model the group has donated more than $135,000 to area nonprofits in three and a half years.

The COVID-19 crisis prompted a different response from the group. While trying to work out how to get donations to continue, 100+ Women Who Care — SML member Kathleen Riordan said she had a “brain blast.”

“I went out for a bike ride and the idea just kind of popped into my head,” Riordan said. “Linda [Strup, 100+ Women Who Care — SML member] had sent the email that we weren’t going to have a meeting, and everyone could choose what charity they wanted to send money to. I thought if we don’t have the requirement to be a member to donate to a selected charity then why don’t we open it up to everyone.”

The group’s steering committee signed off on the idea. They have created a Facebook event page inviting the community to join them in making a positive impact.

The invitation reads, “We invite all people who care about SML to join with us and expand this impact! Please consider making a $100 donation to a charity of your choice. After you do so, give a shout-out to your chosen charity on our Facebook Event page - Together We Care SML! We will not be tracking donations, but your post may inspire someone else to give as well.”

A list of local charities is provided on the Facebook page with links to their website. Strup said the list makes it easy for anyone to click on a charity and donate.

“So hopefully it will bring awareness to the charities, the area and the 100+ Women Who Care,” Strup said.

100+ Women Who Care — SML has grown from the initial 70 members in the fall of 2016 to nearly 150 now. Though members normally support one charity together to create maximum impact, during the pandemic each member is sending her $100 to a local charity of her choice and they hope you will join them in this effort.

“Even if 20 people donate $100 to area charities that will be $2000 out into the area for local charities,” added Strup.

100+ Women Who Care offers up the list of the nonprofits they have given to as an example.

“We have collectively given to 11 charities,” said Strup. “Those are the ones we have done a lot of due diligence in vetting them. These are not the only worthy charities, we have heard from three times that amount, but these are the ones we have given to over the past three and a half years.”

100+ Women Who Care — SML’s invitation concludes with this explanation, “Our aim is simply to encourage others to support local charities in the same way that many are supporting local restaurants and retailers. You don’t need to be a 100+ WWC~SML member to make an impact, but we do welcome any women who care to join! If you are a man, kid or family who cares, we can help you launch your own chapter!”

The group’s Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/wwc.sml.

A list of nonprofits that have received 100+ Women Who Care — SML donations in the past and are still in need of donations include Children’s Assistive Technology Service, Food for Kids Weekend Pack-A-Sack program, Free Clinic of Franklin County, Henry Fork Service Center, Lake Christian Ministries, Franklin County Perinatal Education Center, SML Good Neighbors, SML Marine Volunteer Fire Department, Southern VA Child Advocacy Center, STEP and Stepping Stone Mission.