This week’s Hometown Hero is Carolyn Walters, co-founder of “100 Women Who Give a Hoot,” a local charitable organization that feels like a small-town social club but donates like a high-class fundraiser.
“100 Women Who Give a Hoot” is a group of women, we’re over 250 now, women with big hearts and limited time,” said Walters. “What we do as an organization is we connect women who want to make a difference in the community, who want to give back in the community, with local organizations who need their support financially.”
“100 Women Who Give a Hoot” is an offshoot on the “100 Women Who Care” project in Michigan begun by Karen Dunigan, who passed away in April of 2014. Her original chapter contributed more than $475,000 to charity, and the local chapter founded by Walters organization continues to spread charity and goodwill as it outgrows the “100 Women” found in the name.
No matter the size of the group of women who “give a hoot,” the focus always stays local, and so does the donation. Over $60,000 was donated in the first year Walters’ chapter was active and the organization blossomed from “fifteen people in the kitchen” to over 250 active members.
“We get together as a group once a quarter,” said Walters. “All our members agree to come to four meeting per year and they each bring $100 to the event. They each bring a blank check and they’re prepared to give that check at the end of the night. So we invite three local non-profits to each event, these non-profits are nominated by our members, and each non-profit gives a five minute presentation. They talk to us about who they are, what they do in the community, and what they would do with our collective funds. If you think about a hundred women in a room with $100 each, that’s $10,000.”
With over 250 members, that donation easily exceeds $25,000, and continues to increase. The real advantage to banding together, however, comes with donating together.
“So, for all of these women, if we donate $100 individually each quarter that’s wonderful,” said Walters. “But when we all pull it together at the same time it becomes really impactful.”
Any charitable donation almost always makes a positive difference, but the impact that a large sum can make, especially when given to a small charity or little-known cause, can be incredible. Individual donations are helpful, but cooperation and large-scale donation can transform lives.
“Being there among those women is really inspirational,” said Walters. “To see and hear the stories of the non-profits and to know that those funds are going to make a difference is amazing.”