President Crispin Deneault opened the introductory meeting of 100 Women of Lake Highlands with a promise to keep things short and sweet. The organization is designed that way: 100 women give $100 per quarter, pooling their money to do the most good. No bake sales, no raffles. No shifts to work, no booths to man.
“I know you’re busy, I get it,” she told the assembled crowd. “I see your faces volunteering everywhere. Our organization is meant to have a minimum commitment with maximum impact on the community.”
You can see my photos from the organizational meeting here.
Deneault, along with founding board members Beth Arnold, Amy Timmerman, Veronica Deats, Claire Reyes, Lynsey Purl and Gabi Buehring adhere to the old adage by Margaret Mead, they say. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
New members will commit to participating throughout 2016, which includes making two donations of $100 each. In future full years, the commitment is $300. At quarterly meetings, members will be invited to make pitches on how to spend the pot of individual checks. Perhaps a disabled child needs a wheelchair. Maybe a family’s home was destroyed by fire. Perhaps a member’s favorite charity needs a boost. At the end of the meeting members will vote, and one recipient will be chosen.
The group is not a 501(c)3 charity, but it needn’t be. Recipients will be. (In the case of the wheelchair, a suitable charity will be found to handle the purchase.) Member gifts will be made directly to the charity and are therefore tax deductible. The group is willing to fund a charity run by a political or religious organization, but not if it requires a specific faith or political affiliation to receive benefit. No national organizations will be chosen, but a local branch (such as the LH YMCA) will be considered.
The program is modeled after “100 Women Who Care in St. Louis” and other similar programs, which run independently.
“We said we’d be happy if we had 50 people,” said Deneault. “We are blown away to have triple that.”
Enrollment is open to all, but they’ll stop taking new members for 2016 on April 26. Forms are available at Nathan Grace Real Estate now, but online registration will be up and running Monday, April 11. Check the 100 Women of Lake Highlands Facebook page for more info.