What Can 100+ Women Accomplish?

Desha Davis

Tucson is a giving town, say those who know—those bean-counters among us. And when it comes to local giving, one nonprofit scores high marks for consistency and growth: 100+ Women Who Care about Tucson. It’s the “charities charity,” funneling about $72,000 a year into helping hometown nonprofits through a unique, highly successful giving strategy.

Never heard of 100+ Women? Not surprising. The group keeps a fairly low profile and its first giving event was just two years ago, says chapter founder Desha Bymers-Davis, who modeled Tucson’s group after a sister chapter a friend belonged to in Iowa.

Her friend’s enthusiasm about her local group was this breathless endorsement: “One hour, 100 women, $10,000. It was the best hour of my quarter!”

Here’s how it works here: One hundred-plus women come together every three months at a giving event held at the Westin La Paloma Resort. Each member has previously had the opportunity to nominate her favorite local charity for consideration. After a cash bar social hour with passed appetizers, the group settles down for a one-hour presentation. Three charities are drawn from a hat and three nominating members make informal, super-short presentations about their charities’ missions and why they deserve this quarter’s big gift. A brief Q&A follows, then an anonymous ballot. The winner receives the kitty, which is never below $15,000 and currently hovers at about $18,000. The selected charity is invited to share the gift’s impact with the women at the next meeting.

“The community of Tucson is just a giving community,” Bymers-Davis says. She adds that “as women we feel the need to make a difference.” 100+ Women makes it easy to give $400 a year. It’s also “an opportunity to meet and be around like-minded, like-hearted women and make positive, uplifting women.” Designated “connectors” work the room, Bymers-Davis says, introducing newcomers to the core members and making them feel welcomed.

After two years, the Tucson group now has 230 members. The goal, according to Bymers-Davis, is 250 members, which could translate to $25,000 quarterly. “Our first give was to Tucson Cancer Conquerors,” she says. TCC calls itself a support group dedicated to empowering cancer survivors and the communities that support them to achieve optimal wellness.

The most recent gift, in the third quarter of this year, saw more than $18,000 going to the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. “Even the large charities are impacted by a single gift of this magnitude, Bymers-Davis says. “They didn’t budget for it and were not counting on it, so it’s impactful.”

Earlier this year, in the second quarter, Care Fund, a foundation that helps families with ill children pay their home mortgage or rent, was the grateful beneficiary of $17,200. The first gift of 2017 went to the Tucson Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

Natural Awakenings is a media sponsor for 100+ Women, helping to promote the organization’s “Big Give” dates through magazine display ads. In-kind sponsors, like La Paloma Resort, and a few cash sponsors, help defray meeting room and food costs. This magazine will donate all proceeds raised at its 10th Anniversary Celebration on November 11 to 100+ Women Who Care About Tucson, says Publisher Holly Baker. The party will be held at the Rose Garden in Reid Park from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is free and there will be booths and family activities, Baker says.

Those interested in learning more about these caring people can visit the 100 Who Care Alliance website (100WhoCareAlliance.org), a resource voluntarily compiled by chapter leaders for existing and future chapter leaders of the various 100 Women Who Care, 100 Men Who Care, 100 People Who Care and 100 Kids Who Care groups. There are currently more than 525 chapters making a huge impact in local communities like Tucson and throughout the world.

For more information, visit 100WomenWhoCareTucson.org. See ad, page 10.

Connect with local writer/editor Marcia Detwiler Scupin, whose specialty is writing about spiritual empowerment, at MScupin@cox.net.

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