In just eight short meetings, a group of Red Deer women have raised over $150,000 for local charities.
“Not bad,” Cindy Jefferies, one of the founders of 100+ Women Who Care – Red Deer, said Wednesday.
Jefferies and Susan Knopp started the simple cost-free fundraising plan last year. It’s modelled after similar 100 women groups elsewhere.
The idea is for women to each donate $100, four times a year. Some group together in twos, threes or fours (but with one vote only) to come up with the $100.
No money is spent on the process — even tax receipts are picked up by members rather than mailed. The group meets for about one hour at a donated venue each time.Every dollar donated goes directly to the charity.
“It’s a happy thing,” said Jefferies.
Charities are nominated, and then voted on at the meetings. The charities attend the meetings and talk about the work they do in the community. Once an organization receives funds, it cannot be a contender again for two years.
At the last meeting in November, Family Services of Central Alberta, Red Deer and District SPCA, and The Lending Cupboard were in contention.
The SPCA came out on top, and will probably receive a donation of around $16,000 once all the funds are in, Jefferies said.
Earlier this year, the Suicide Prevention Society received $17,290; Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre – $16,990; and The Mustard Seed – School Lunch Program – $16,750.
Jefferies said that donations were down a bit from last year, as they had a few people who could not afford to donate, and also a number of people involved have moved away.
The group continues to see about two or three people a week wanting to join. “The interest is steady.” They have had between 160 and 200 members.
“Both Susan and I have enjoyed how simple it is. There is no overhead, and people just show up to vote on a nominated charity, and write a cheque for $100 at each of four meetings.”
Jefferies notes that some other charity work she has been involved in requires a lot more work and time commitment.
“We look forward to Year Three.” The first meeting of 2017 is on Feb. 8.