New philanthropic group finds unique way to give back |

New philanthropic group finds unique way to give back

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – If a trio of local women get their way, one local charity will be thousands of dollars richer tomorrow.

In fact, those behind the Roaring Fork Valley chapter of 100+ Women Who Care hope four different charities this year alone will benefit from the group and their philanthropic mission.

“We felt like this was a great way to give women of all ages and all walks of life a chance to give back to their community,” said Emily Weingart, who is launching 100+ Women locally with Mandy Norton and Robin VanDomelen. “We know there are many ways of giving, but 100+ Women really made sense to us because it’s simple and direct … and it works.”

100+ Women Who Care was founded five years ago in Jackson, Mich., and is now in place in several cities across the country. Weingart’s mother started a chapter in her Ohio hometown, prompting the younger Weingart, who is a counselor at Aspen High School, to take action in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The concept is simple: A group of women commit to donating $100 each four times a year, or a group of four women join together as a team to reach the requirement by donating $25 each time.

The group meets quarterly, checkbooks in hand, to decide the beneficiary. Any Roaring Fork Valley nonprofit is eligible; the process of choosing the charity begins with members placing their anonymous suggestions in “the hat.” Three are chosen at random. At which point, the member who nominated the drawn charity gives a brief explanation of why she chose it. The membership then votes, a beneficiary is selected, and dozens of $100 checks are written out. At the following meeting, a representative from the winning charity tells the group how the money was spent.

“It’s pretty straight-forward,” Norton said. “And it can work for all women, but really, our goals was to get younger women involved in giving back.”

“We are all busy, but this takes very little time,” Weingart added, noting the group meets for one hour, four times a year. “And while $100 may not seem like a lot to some people, it is to others, which is why creating a team works.”

Tonight’s inaugural meeting is the first chance for local women to join in the cause; the founders expect about 100 women to attend.

“The response has been really positive, and we hope that after this first meeting it will continue to grow,” said Norton. “There is no limit to how much we can give back to the community.”

Plus, all three founders of the local chapter of 100+ Women Who Care agree that the group is about more than giving, especially here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“This is also a chance to network and to learn about where, as time goes on, you might want to get more involved,” explained VanDomelen. “There are some incredible nonprofits in our community and this will hopefully help them all in some way.”