May 2018

Got 60 Minutes and a Dollar a Day? 100+ Women Who Care prove there’s power in an hour

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Gather 100 or more women in a room, and what do you get? If you guessed a hen party, you are partially correct. But for members of 100+ Women Who Care, it’s a party with a purpose, and they take care of some serious business in 60 minutes or less—no rubber chicken lunches, no silent auctions, no bake sales, no fashion shows. In an hour, they raise enough money to have a significant impact on a community charity they have agreed to support and leave with that soul-satisfying feeling that comes from serving others in a meaningful way.

The concept is simple. Every member has the opportunity to nominate a local non-profit organization having IRS 501© (3) status—think slips of paper in a hat naming favorite charities. Three charities are drawn at random at each quarterly meeting. The nominating member is given five minutes to pitch the chosen charity and five minutes for questions and answers. After all three have been presented, the members vote by secret ballot. The charity with the most votes is announced, and everyone writes a $100 check in the name of that charity. Done. Finished.

Now, do the math. With 100-plus members or more, that’s $10,000 made available immediately to an organization serving local people in need. How easy is that? Members contribute $100 four times per year—that’s just over a dollar a day—and their gifts are tax-deductible.

This ingenious idea originated in 2006 in Michigan when founder Karen Dunigan was made aware of a local need in her area: mothers placing their sleeping newborns in boxes or drawers because they couldn’t afford proper bedding. So touched was she that she gathered 100 women for a one-hour meeting and raised $10,000 to purchase 300 baby cribs—no soliciting, no telemarketing—just demonstrating the power of collective giving.

Thanks to Dunigan’s vision, in existence today worldwide are over 750 chapters of 100 Who Care, either fully operational or under development. The chapters are comprised not only of women, but of men, kids/teens and any group of people who wish to participate in this model of grass-roots giving. Three such chapters serve the needs of people right here in Beaufort County: Hilton Head Island, Greater Bluffton, and Beaufort.

The Hilton Head Island chapter was formed in July, 2015 by Ann Tucker and Jackie Ryan—two friends with a common interest in making a difference in their own backyard. In spite of their initial worry that no one would come, they started their first meeting with the right attitude. “We had $200 between us that was going to some charity,” Ryan said.

But 32 women, in addition to Tucker and Ryan, showed up that night, and $3,400 was given to Neighborhood Outreach Connection. “We were almost in tears. That was quite a meeting,” Tucker said. “We have been very fortunate that we have grown simply by word of mouth. We might lose a few or gain a few, but we have held steady this year at 112 members.”

According to Ryan, part of the success of the model is knowing exactly where the money is going and for what purpose. All charities receiving funds are local and monies must be used to benefit the recipients of that charity’s programs, not for administrative funding. “One of our guidelines specifies that our donation cannot go into the charity’s operating budget. We appreciate that there is rent to pay and heating bills and lighting, and we are hoping that other organizations can help with that. We are hands-on. We’re talking about food in the backpacks or fixing the hole in the roof,” she said.

The ease in which busy people can participate is another draw. “Members are comfortable in their seats because they know it’s only an hour,” Tucker said. Some show up at five for cocktails and conversation, but it’s not required. The meeting begins promptly at 5:30, and the presentations are strictly timed. Business is finished, they are out the door by 6:30, and many of them have girls’ night dinner plans. Attendance is not mandatory, however, and members remain in good standing as long as they remit their quarterly check made out to the charity chosen.

To date, the Hilton Head Island chapter has donated $108,565.27 to non-profits serving the people of Hilton Head Island. (The uneven number represents money raised on their behalf at local events at Village at Wexford.) In addition to Neighborhood Outreach Connection, charities benefiting include The Low Country Retired Active Law Enforcement Association, Second Helpings, Backpack Buddies, Sandalwood Community Food Pantry, Volunteers in Medicine, Memory Matters, the Children’s Center, and YANA Club of Hilton Head. Most recent recipients include the Pan African Family Empowerment Network (PAFEN) and Project Safe.
Meetings take place at Dolphin Head Golf Club in Hilton Head Plantation, where the setup fee has been generously waived for the group. “We are not a 501 ©(3). We are not an LLC. We are two women who found a place that can seat 100 women and has a bar,” Tucker said with a chuckle.

“We want to share this opportunity to provide women of like heart and soul a forum and a platform to join together and make an impact on the community where we live,” Ryan said. “Come experience it and feel it.”

To learn more about the 100 Who Care Alliance, find a list of existing chapters, or get support for starting a chapter in your neighborhood, visit

You are Invited
Open your heart, join the fun, make a difference, and leave with the “feel-goods.”

100+ Women Who Care Hilton Head Island
When: July 18, 5:30-6:30 p.m. (cash bar opens at 5 p.m.)
Where: Dolphin Head Golf Club, Hilton Head Plantation*
*Gate passes are pre-arranged for the group. Mention 100 Women Who Care.

100+ Women Who Care Greater Bluffton
When: July 10, 7 p.m. (Registration and social time 6:30 p.m.)
Where: Lakeview Room, Hampton Lake Amenities Center

100 Women Who Care Beaufort
When: July 10, 5:30-6:30 p.m. (check-in/registration from 5-5:30)
Where: Education Building (Fellowship Hall), First Presbyterian Church, Beaufort

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