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Natural Awakenings Tucson

100+ Women Who Care in Tucson Supporting Local Charities

Desha Bymers-Davis is the Founder of the Tucson chapter of 100+ Women Who Care, which is a group of local philanthropic women who are doing great things in our community. The goal of the group is to support the worthwhile work of local charities by providing funds, exposure and awareness with a minimal investment of time. The genesis of this Tucson group was somewhat accidental in that it started when Bymers-Davis broke her right foot in March 2015.
She explains, “I have to drive because I’m in sales, so I was off work for 13 weeks. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t sit still very well. My son had recently graduated from college, and I was ready to transition from devoting so much time to parenting to wanting to make a difference. I had seen a post on Facebook about the Omaha, Nebraska chapter, where a woman said it was, ‘The best one hour I’ve ever spent. One hour, 100 women, $10,000 of local impact for charity.’” This piqued her interest, so she looked for a chapter in Tucson, and found there was none.
“I reached out to the gal heading up the Phoenix chapter, and discovered we both attended the University of South Dakota, and she graduated three years prior to me. We had a natural connection. She encouraged me to start the Tucson group,” Bymers-Davis remarks. “I paid $5 to Etsy for our first logo, and created a website. I invited a woman from every decade of life to my house to explain my mission. I made our first video on iMovie, which went viral—156 women came to the first meeting.”
The quarterly meetings are run by volunteers along with some generous financial support from sponsors. “Our sponsors are amazing. I wanted all the money we raised at the meetings to go to the charities. But since I come from corporate America, I also wanted to plan a special event which would attract donors. Thanks to our sponsors, we accomplished that,” Bymers-Davis comments.

How it Works
Four times a year, members attend The Big Give, where each member gives $100. The first hour of each meeting is a social/networking hour, before the group settles down to business. During each meeting, three of the charities which have been nominated by members are selected in a drawing from a hat. Then, a representative from each charity drawn makes a brief presentation about why they should be the recipient of the donation.                    

After the presentations and a Q&A session by members, an anonymous ballot is held and the charity with the most votes will be the recipient. The charities can receive $20,000 or more if they get the most votes and are ultimately selected to receive that group’s quarterly donation. Winning charities are required to sit out the next 18 months before being eligible to go in the hat again.
The selected charity is invited back to the next quarterly meeting to share with the members the impact their donations made.
Currently, the group has 225 members. “Our goal is to reach a membership of 500 women, so we will be able to make an even greater impact. We’re looking for more women to be able to give back even more to our community. We’re going to give our largest donation yet in December, which will be almost $25,000 to Literacy Connects. If you can’t read, it’s hard to succeed in society,” she opines.
Does $100 make an impact? Bymers-Davis quotes Satoro, “Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” Recounting the story of the Diaper Bank donation, Bymers-Davis remembers when she called to let the Diaper Bank know they were the quarterly recipient, the man who answered the phone seemed shook up. There was a reason for his emotional response.
“He told me that they had just gotten an opportunity to receive a million dollars in diapers, however they did not have the money in their coffers to pay the shipping costs. When I told him the donation was $17,000 he said, ‘Guess how much the shipping costs are—$16,900.’ Here you see how $100 turned into $17,000, which turned into $1,000,000 in diapers,” she observes.
    The 100+ Women Who Care Tucson Group and Bymers-Davis were recognized by the Ben’s Bells Project for their work in the community. “They announced it at the quarterly meeting. I felt very special and honored,” she emotes.

Becoming a Member
The group proves that we don’t have to be wealthy to be a philanthropist. 100+ Women Who Care allows women from all demographics to participate as members.
Members must make a commitment to make an annual donation of $415.60 ($103.90 per quarter) to local 501(c)(3) charities serving the Tucson metro area. Members are required to enroll in a quarterly autopay plan, where $100 of the amount is donated to the selected charity and $3.90 covers the cost of credit card and administrative fees.
100+ Women Who Care Tucson is for women who: have limited time but a heart for giving; are willing to commit to one hour every three months; want to learn more about the amazing work being done by local nonprofits; want to be part of a caring and amazing group of women who are making a positive impact in our community; and want 100 percent of their donations to go directly to a local charity.

Sponsors are an integral component to the success of 100+. Bymers-Davis reached out to the real estate community for sponsors after she purchased several rental properties. The first sponsor of the group was Karen Fisher, a mortgage broker at Summit Mortgage. The second sponsor was Kim Clifton, owner of Tierra Antigua Real Estate. Subsequently, sponsors who wanted to give back to the community, such as Sierra Tucson, reached out to her.
There are also in kind sponsors. Natural Awakenings Magazine donates advertising space. Arclight Pictures produces a video at each “give” which shows the impact of the money donated from the previous quarter. They also donate microphones and audio for the events.
“Our sponsors are amazing. We couldn’t do what we do without them. We are essentially a grassroots organization, and we rely primarily upon word of mouth and social media to grow our membership,” says Bymers-Davis.
100+ Women Who Care Tucson is a conduit which is making a difference in Tucson. These fabulous women who love to give are making an impact in our community. To attend the next upcoming giving circle at the Westin La Paloma Resort, mark the calendar for January 21, 2020, and get to know the nonprofits that are making dreams a reality.

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