Women who care help nonprofits

Kudos to 100 Women Who Care in Santa Fe, which once again has raised major funds to help three local nonprofits continue the good work they do.

Recently, the group gave checks amounting to nearly $25,000 to Gerard’s House, Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe and Girls Inc. These three groups were the lucky ones whose names were picked literally from a hat at the group’s last quarterly meeting, held in early August.

Representatives from each of the nonprofits talked at the 100 Women Who Care meeting for five minutes. That’s right. Only five minutes to tell their story — and they were very powerful and inspiring stories to hear.

Oh, and did I mention the whole meeting takes an hour on the nose? The first 10 minutes includes updates by the executive directors of the nonprofits that won at the last meeting, explaining how the money was spent. This time, Allegra Love, well-known Santa Fe immigration lawyer — fresh from the border — talked about how the $11,000 the Dreamers group won in March has been used to help the dire situation facing immigrants.

Then came presentations from the three groups chosen from the hat. Representatives from Gerard’s House spoke movingly about its program, offering support to grieving children who have experienced the death of a parent or someone close to them. Next came two representatives of Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe, talking about how their program helps adults learn English. Literacy student Silvia Kingsford spoke passionately about how her tutor has helped her become more confident with her English — leading to a promotion at work — and enabled her to help her two children with their homework and get more involved in their schooling. Girls Inc. representatives spoke about its work helping empower young girls by resisting peer pressure, aiming for college, staying healthy and learning to be independent. They also shared their goal to expand into the pueblos.

One Hundred Women Who Care was started eight years ago by local businesswomen Katie Rountree and Jody Feagan, who had heard about other communities that had started such a group and just knew that Santa Feans would respond in big numbers. And they have.

So far, nearly $340,000 has been donated to local community nonprofits — ranging from Kitchen Angels to The Santa Fe animal shelter to Feeding Santa Fe. The mission is to help philanthropically minded women support our local charities in Santa Fe without the time-consuming efforts involved in fundraising — often including grant writing, site visits, year-end letters and individual solicitations.

Each member — or group of women — pledges $400 a year. “The original plan was to help our community by having 100 women contribute $100 four times a year,” Rountree says. “But now 100 women is a bit of a misnomer, since we’ve grown to nearly 350 members and our new goal is to grow to 1,000. This would make us the biggest chapter of 100 Women Who Care in the country!”

And, points out partner Feagan, “We have also enlisted the financial support from more than a dozen local businesses which donate funds at each event to the third place winner, so every name drawn from the hat receives money.”

So, if you’re a woman — men can attend, by the way, and also can donate but cannot vote — and want to learn about the needs, programs and successes of many of our town’s nonprofit agencies, contact Rountree at 505-920-4044 or Feagan at 970-456-6678. Or you can get more information on www.100womenwhocaresantafe.com

What’s especially nice to know is all money raised goes straight to the charity. There is no overhead.

Linda Osborne is a retired freelance writer living in Santa Fe. She is a former tutor for Literacy Volunteers.