Election season is a time to think about what matters and make choices. As voters prepare to pick future leaders, a group of local women will soon cast ballots of a different sort. Each with $100 to give, they’ll pick a nonprofit to support.
Since their start in April 2019, members of 100+ Women Who Care About Snohomish County have given out $44,125. Three organizations, Mercy Watch, Homage Senior Services, and Faith Food Bank, have so far been major recipients.
Before the pandemic, the group met in person to hear pitches from nonprofits that were chosen — picked from a hat — after members submitted their suggestions for worthy recipients. The aim is that three times a year, each woman will give $100 to a charity agreed upon by the group.
“Together we leverage the power,” said Everett’s Janet Bacon, a co-founder of 100+ Women Who Care About Snohomish County. “If you give $100, that’s great. If we leverage that, and each gives $100, that’s $10,000. And that’s awesome.”
It was February, just before the COVID-19 crisis began, that the women picked three more charities to possibly help. Through Oct. 7 — they began on Thursday — they’ll have the opportunity to view videos on their group’s website from each of the three: YWCA Pathways for Women, Village Theatre and Sisters Saving Sisters. Voting to choose one of the three will be done via an email survey, also through Oct. 7.
Normally, all of this would be done in person, in what Bacon calls the group’s “Giving Circle.”
“It’s not too late to join us for this Giving Circle,” she said by email Tuesday, adding that for 2021 the giving events are scheduled for February, May and October.
The choices this time are diverse. They include organizations that provide shelter, support for people with eating disorders, and enlightenment through live theater.
At its Lynnwood location YWCA Pathways for Women operates an emergency shelter and provides resources for women and children facing homelessness.
Sisters Saving Sisters began as a team participating in Seattle’s NEDA Walk, which supports the National Eating Disorders Association. The group walked in honor of one of its founders’ sisters, who had long battled an eating disorder. Now an Everett-based nonprofit, Sisters Saving Sisters advocates body positivity, self-esteem, female entrepreneurship and a safe and inclusive community.
Also a nonprofit, the Village Theatre presents regional theater productions and youth education programs at the Everett Performing Arts Center and the Cope Gillette Theatre. Like many other arts organizations, it has been shuttered by the pandemic.
Past recipients were overwhelmed by gifts from 100+ Women Who Care About Snohomish County.
Dennis Kelly, a Catholic deacon and founder of Mercy Watch, said, “You guys are always going to be part of it” after the women’s group presented his street medicine outreach group with $11,600 in late February.
In May, the women’s group wasn’t able to meet to pick a recipient for its $10,800 in donations. It was decided to award additional gifts to previous beneficiaries. Mercy Watch was given $1,300, Homage received $3,325, and $5,925 went to Faith Food Bank and Community Meal, along with several hundred dollars to three other groups.
The Faith Food Bank, which operates out of Everett’s Faith Lutheran Church, was the first recipient of the 100+ Women’s group, with a gift of $10,600.
“When we got the first money, I cried,” said Roxana Boroujerdi, organizer of Faith Food Bank. “I think we had $900 left at the time.”
Along with the money, Boroujerdi said one woman from the group provided a van, and another donated a commercial refrigerator that now allows the charity to store and distribute dairy foods.
Faith Food Bank, at 6708 Cady Road in Everett, operates 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, and offers drive-up to-go dinners 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays. More than 1,600 people consistently use the food bank, Boroujerdi said, and as many as 125 cars line up for family dinners.
“That donation has the ability to help a nonprofit grow to its potential,” she said.
The 100 Women Who Care movement was launched in 2006 by a Michigan woman who set out to support a charity that donates cribs to families in need. Bacon, along with Dani Hixon of Lake Stevens, decided to start the Snohomish County group after taking part in a greater Seattle chapter in 2018.
They don’t know when they’ll be able to meet again, but the pandemic won’t stop them from helping.
“It really is us together making really significant donations,” Bacon said. “This is a good thing. In the midst of all this, we will continue to give.”
How to help
Members of 100+ Women Who Care About Snohomish County each contribute $100 three times a year to donate to local nonprofits. Due to the pandemic, members will be voting, via an email poll, through Oct. 7 to select one of three possible recipients for this donation cycle. Videos about the three nonprofits will be on the group’s website. Members register online to participate. The chosen nonprofit will be announced on the group’s website and Facebook page.
Checks, made out to the chosen nonprofit and due Oct. 16, are to be mailed to: 8825 34th Ave. NE, Suite L, PMB #417, Marysville WA 98271.
Learn more at: 100womensnohomish.com
Or email [email protected] or call Janet Bacon, 214-883-4820.