|Members of 100 Women Who Care present a $3,600 donation to Friends of Guest House, a nonprofit based in Alexandria that helps formerly incarcerated women adjust to life in the community.|
The group, 100 Women Who Care, meets four times a year to collectively select a nonprofit. Everyone contributes $100 to that organization, with the goal of ensuring their gift will have a meaningful impact.
At the group’s Feb. 6, meeting, they agreed to support Heal Well, an organization that provides massage therapy in hospitals and hospices, because touch is so important in the healing process. Heal Well will use its gift from 100 Women Who Care to start a new initiative to provide massage therapy to the homeless.
At each meeting, three members of the group give a 10-minute presentation about an organization they feel passionate about, and the group as a whole votes for the nonprofit to support for that quarter.
Sometimes the person making the presentation brings a representative from the organization she supports to answer questions about the nonprofit’s budget and how it will use the donation. By making a larger donation – $3,500 versus $100 from an individual – the group is better able to direct how the money will be used, says 100 Women Who Care founder Traci Richards.
At the previous meeting last fall, 100 Women Who Care supported a sewing program affiliated with the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center that teaches refugees and other women to sew and learn a skilled trade with the goal of attaining self-sufficiency. Some of the women have been able to secure paying jobs at tailor shops.
The giving circle’s donation will help the organization buy sewing machines for women who complete the program.
Among other organizations 100 Women Who Care supported include the Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children, Falls Church High School Band Aides, Comfort Cases (an organization that provides basic essentials to children entering foster care), and Vecinos Unidos, a nonprofit that provides tutoring and summer enrichment programs to school-age children).
“What’s wonderful about 100 Women Who Care is we get to learn about all these organizations and the great work they’re doing,” Richards says.
Since the group was founded in 2012, it has given more than $120,000 to worthy nonprofits.
Last year, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation awarded a 50 percent matching grant to all giving circles in the 100 Women Who Care Alliance, also founded by Richards. As a result, the $3,500 raised by the local giving circle for Heal Well was increased to $5,250.
100 Women Who Care has 35 members. The 100 in the group’s name is an aspirational number, Richards says.
New members are welcome to join. The only requirements are you have to be woman and you have to commit to giving $100 each quarter.
If you’re interested in joining, sign up on the group’s website or just come to the next meeting, May 7, 7:30 p.m., at the Mosaic Community Space, 2985 District Ave., Merrifield.