Will County’s 100 Women Who Care kicks off giving year in Lockport

The Will County chapter of 100 Women Who Care is kicking off its 2023-2024 giving season on Tuesday in Lockport.

100 Women Who Care is part of the larger 100 Who Care Alliance, a group which was founded in 2006 on the premise that if 100 people each donated $100 in one evening, it would be an easy way to raise $10,000 for a worthy cause.

“The idea was to give people a way to help if they don’t have a lot of time to commit to a charity,” said Will County Chapter organizer Maribeth Carlson. “It’s a flexible, easy way to donate to people in your community and learn about the needs of people in the area.”

The group meets four times per year for one hour in September, November, February, and April. During the meetings, members nominate a charity they think the group should support by putting the group names in a hat.

Three charities are chosen at random and the people who nominated them have five to 10 minutes to explain what the organization does and why it should be supported. After all three charities have been presented, the members vote on which group should receive the quarterly donation and everyone writes a check to that organization.

Carlson noted that all women are welcome to attend the meetings and contribute, but only members are permitted to nominate charities and vote on which organization will receive donations. Becoming a member only requires a commitment of donating to all four charities during the course of the year.

“There is no membership fee or larger commitment,” said Carlson. “Some members don’t even come to each meeting. Obviously, if they aren’t there, they can’t vote, but they still contribute.”

While the votes are tallied at the meeting, the previous quarter’s recipient will explain how the money they received was used.

Recent benefactors of the 100 Women Will County Women Who Care have been DuPage County ACT-SO, Will County Habitat for Humanity, NAMI Will-Grundy, and Meals on Wheels. Each charity received between $6,500 and $7,500, thanks in part to an agreement with the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to match 50 percent of the group’s donation up to $5,000 to each quarterly charity.

In order to be nominated charities must be a registered 501(c)3 and have a presence in Will County. Once an organization has been selected, it cannot receive donations again for two years, and the group must agree to send a representative to the following quarterly meeting.

The most recent recipient, DuPage County ACT-SO, or Afro-Academic Cultural Technological and Scientific Olympics, has a chapter in Bolingbrook and will be presenting at Tuesday’s meeting.

The group is sponsored by the NAACP and is a youth competition and mentoring program for Black high school students in STEM, business, and the arts. The organization received $7,100 from 100 Women in June. Four students from the organization, Amalachukwu Agwuncha, Chandler Brady, Raina Ford, and Antonio Angew, received awards at the group’s 2023 national competition in July.

While the ambition of 100 Women is to have at least 100 donors each quarter, currently Will County’s membership sits at about 45, though Carlson notes that it has been steadily growing since the group was started in 2015.

“We’re still quite small,” Carlson said. “We’ve been slowly increasing a little bit more every time. We’re hoping we can get five new people this month so that with the Schulze Foundation’s help we can give each charity at least $7,500 going forward.”

The September meeting will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at Coom’s Corner Sports Grill, located at 1255 E. 9th St. in Lockport.