This time two years ago, a new group was forming in Barton County and very few people were sure about how it was going to work. The 100+ People Who Care Group held its first meeting in February of 2019 to kick off the new project, where 100 or more people gather each quarter and commit to give $100 to charity.
“We modeled this group off others like it in other parts of the country, and the biggest reason we liked the idea is because we can make a big impact with a small time commitment,” said Julie Mazouch, the group’s volunteer chairperson. “There are already so many fundraisers for deserving charities, so this group was an easier way that we can raise a significant amount of money without planning an event, selling tickets, getting sponsorships, and everything else it takes to raise $10,000 with one event.”
Members gather at the Best Western Courtyard each quarter to hear from three charities that were nominated at the previous meeting. This year’s meetings are planned for the second Tuesdays of February, May, August and November. A spokesman for each charity provides a five-minute presentation and then answers questions before the members vote on who they’d like to make their donations to. While the results are being tallied, a representative from the winning charity from the previous quarter returns to give an update on how they’ve utilized the funds they received. Then the charity with the most votes is named the winner, and all 100+ members write a $100 check directly to that organization. Members also get to nominate the charities they’d like to see presentations from at the following quarterly meeting.
Since 2017, the group’s approximate membership of 112 has raised over $82,000 for local charities, each with a unique story about why they needed the funds to purchase equipment, expand their programming, or fund a special project.
“One of the most enjoyable parts of being a member in this group is getting to learn about all the charities that present to our group,” said Erika Brining, volunteer committee member. “Even though it’s hard to vote because they are all deserving, it’s still a good opportunity to hear about the important work being done in our area and about other ways to get involved and support their mission.”
Where the money went
Projects previously funded by the 100+ People Who Care Group:
• Almost Home Inc. received the group’s inaugural funds, allowing the assisted living facility to enclose its patio and convert it to an all-seasons room, to increase the facility’s functional space, and serve more people through its adult day-care program.
• The Family Crisis Center was able to make improvements to the women’s shelter in Great Bend, allowing it to meet code requirements and expand to additional levels of the home to house victims in need.
• Central Kansas Dream Center was able to expand operations and serve additional meals through the Hungry Heart Soup Kitchen, by utilizing their funds to purchase a new walk-in freezer.
• Sunflower Diversified Services utilized its funds to purchase equipment to secure and increase safety measures at the early childhood facility.
• The Community Food Bank of Barton County was able to utilize funds to continue offering a menu of items to families, based on their size and personal preferences and needs, rather than a pre-made box of donated items.
• Great Bend Community Theatre will use funds to bring the Missoula Children’s Theatre Company to our community for the benefit of our local youth thespians. Professional actors and directors will be in residence for a week-long camp, providing up to 50-60 youths the opportunity to grow both on and off the stage, through the creation of lights, props, and a musical theater production.
• Healing Hearts Ranch serves a vital need for families facing mental health challenges by providing support through equine assisted psychotherapy to address treatment goals for behavioral issues, ADD, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs. The pledges of the 100+ People Who Care members has allowed Healing Hearts to grow its scholarship funds for those in need who require their unique services.
• The Prairie Godmother Funds of the Golden Belt Community Foundation was able to match donations from the members of 100+ People Who Care Barton County with funds from The Nichols Charitable Foundation to grow that endowment by $20,000 to assist women in Barton County who have a critical, unmet need. More than 140 emergency needs have been met since their creation!
The next giving meeting for the 100+ People Who Care group will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Best Western Angus Inn Courtyard. The group has set a new goal for 2019, with hopes of welcoming enough new members to reach a total of 150 participating donors. If this goal is reached, each winning charity would receive an even bigger contribution – up to $15,000 or more. Anyone interested in learning more about the group or getting involved can visit www.100bartoncounty.org. The meeting on Feb. 12 is also open to the public for those who would prefer to watch a meeting and see how it works before committing. The organization is on Facebook at 100 People Who Care Barton County.