Roderick Benns recently interviewed Sharon Smith-Carter, a founding member of the Kawartha Lakes Chapter of 100 Women Who Care (along with Bella Alderton and Sharon Robbins) about their recent fundraising success.
Benns: Why did this group form in Kawartha Lakes? How does it connect with 100 Men and 100 Kids?
Smith-Carter: We heard about the ‘100 Women’ initiative and were impressed by the concept of simplicity and the incredible power of women with a common cause — making a difference in their community. As busy women, the one-hour-meeting model was appealing, plus having 100 per cent of the donation funds directed and utilized within our local community was paramount. We had our first meeting in March, 2016 and the 100 Kids and 100 Men groups began in 2018, formed by like-minded community members.
Benns: It’s a lot of money raised in a small town. What has been part of your success getting people to buy in to the causes?
Smith-Carter: Yes, it is an astounding amount of money to raise in any size community. This year (2018) the chapter has donated $53,000 in three meetings, which brings the collective total to over $144,800 in three years (or nine one-hour meetings). We honour a maximum one-hour format and members are able to donate without having to attend in person. A by-product of the meetings include the educational component through the presentations, plus a ripple-effect of donations to the charities that did not receive the meetings donation. The “buy-in” is wanting to make a difference by donating as part of a large group, without having to commit countless hours to fundraising efforts when time is at a premium. Where else can you see your $50 or $100 transform into $18,000 within an hour?
Benns: What is coming up for the organization in terms of your focus? How will you grow the movement?
Smith-Carter: Our local chapter is still in its infancy and our focus continues to be community awareness and support for registered local charities and not-for-profits in Kawartha Lakes. Due to the natural attrition that happens within any group, we rely on the positivity and results of the donations to spark a desire to join our chapter. Public awareness is viewed through our membership, local businesses, and social media to help us move forward. There are over 140 registered charities in Kawartha Lakes and the desire to help a “favourite” charity can be an impetus for growth. We also hope that media coverage, such as the Lindsay Advocate and other local media will spotlight 100 Women Who Care Kawartha Lakes to increase our exposure to community.
Benns: What’s the best part about the work you put into this?
Smith-Carter: Seeing the incredible power of 235 women coming together with a common desire. This is a bright spot in times that are challenging for many and encourages us to move forward into 2019 and make a difference. As Helen Keller so aptly wrote: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”