Wendy Wheeler-Coltrane first had the idea to form a local philanthropy group five years ago. A busy schedule and lack of contacts held her back until last year, when Wheeler-Coltrane and Jean Lee began working to found the Eugene-Springfield chapter of 100+ Women Who Care (100+WWC), a group of women who donate to local charities that provide a service for the community.
The first 100+WWC chapter was founded in the Midwest by Karen Dunigan. She was at work in an executive meeting for the Center for Family Health when the CEO mentioned that new mothers in Jackson, Michigan needed cribs for their babies. Dunigan was tasked with raising $10,000, so she scheduled a meeting with her friends where they raised $12,800 in an hour. This meeting inspired her to launch 100+WWC.
100+WWC chapters meet four times a year for an hour to nominate and vote for the nonprofit charity they want to donate to. The charity has to provide a service, be available to everyone in the community and can’t be affiliated with a political or religious belief system.
The typical donation is $100 each meeting plus a $100 annual membership fee that goes to a charity of the member’s choice for an annual total of $500. The donations are tax deductible. Each chapter is modeled off of the first chapter, but each has unique qualities. Many chapters are for women although there are some chapters for men and children.
“We were in agreement 100 percent of the way,” Wheeler-Coltrane tells EW of the local chapter’s formation. “We were having a blast putting this together.”
The Eugene-Springfield chapter is striving to create a diverse membership to include as many women as possible. Unlike most chapters, the Eugene-Springfield chapter allows women to form teams of up to four people who split the donation to combine for one vote.
The group’s current 30 members voted to donate to the City Club of Eugene, an organization that presents the community with speakers on local issues, at the chapter’s inaugural meeting this month after two informational sessions. The chapter has grown consistently after every meeting and session.
“My vision is that our chapter grows way beyond 100 women,” Wheeler-Coltrane says. “We want to make some significant contributions to wonderful organizations that really serve our community in important ways.” — Ryan Moloney