When someone wants to give to a charity, the obstacles are often having enough time or money to give to really make a difference. A local organization of women has found a way to combat both concerns by pooling their money to give more charitable bang for the buck.
When Montclair resident Jennifer Coffman, executive director for the Neuroscience Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado, saw a Milwaukee friend’s social media posts about her local 100 Women Who Care chapter, Coffman was intrigued. “I’ve always had this need to do something more philanthropic and I knew I just didn’t have the time to commit to volunteering,” says Coffman. “So when I heard about how it worked and what the commitment was, it was a perfect solution to feeling like I could make an impact on the community.” Along with her like-minded friend, Rhondi Clark, they launched 100 Women Who Care Denver www.100WomenWhoCareDenver.com in 2013.
There are more than 150 local branches of 100 Women Who Care in the U.S. and Canada, each operated independently but with a common concept of having at least 100 members who commit to giving $100, four times per year, to charities voted on by the group. “It’s $100 per quarter, $33 per month. If you have 100 women, that’s $10,000 that you’re able to donate to a specific charity and, oh my gosh, what a huge impact that can have, especially on some of the smaller charities,” says Coffman.
Members nominate charities they feel are worthy, some of which they may have a connection to such as prior donations or being part of the organization. “That’s fine,” says Coffman. “If they are aligned with a certain organization and want to present them, we’re okay with that as long as they continue to be members and support the other ones the next time around.” The majority of charities are what Coffman describes as community-centric, focused on the underserved, children or animals. “People want to feel good about who they are supporting and where their money is going.” Recent recipients include Denver Urban Gardens, the Wild Animal Sanctuary, Dress for Success and Camp to Belong.
Members give a presentation about why their chosen charity should be selected. One consideration is the amount of funding that goes to administrative costs versus the organization’s mission. “If we have two to three charities that have been nominated and one of them puts 25 percent of what we donate to administrative costs versus 5–10 percent with another, that goes into the selection process people vote on,” explains Coffman.
The charity chosen the prior quarter is required to report on how they utilized the donation. “That’s when people feel the most engaged and really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” says Coffman. “It’s not just sending your money into a black hole where you are never sure where it’s being used.” She adds that the organizations so far have been very appreciative, even when there were few members and therefore, smaller donations. Occasionally the group will lose a member who moves out of state or can’t manage the $100 quarterly commitment. A group membership is also available so that people can divide up their $100 contribution but together equal one vote.
The demographics of 100 Women Who Care Denver range from women in their 20s to retirees, from stay-at-home moms to working professionals. They live all over, as far as Evergreen. “It’s a good opportunity to meet other women who are like-minded and have a philanthropic mindset,” Coffman says.
Coffman feels 100 Women Who Care meets the needs of people who want to support their communities. “When we don’t have a ton of money, we don’t feel like we make a difference, so the power of a group contribution gives us a lot more weight or voice in our community.”
April 15—100 Women Who Care Meeting
At 6:30pm on Wednesday, April 15, 100 Women Who Care will have their next meeting, which usually lasts about one hour. Further details (location, etc) have yet to be finalized but will be available at www.100womenwhocaredenver.com