MarionMade!: Local women donate nearly $150,000 to local charities

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A group of local women determined to make a difference have invested $149,002.33 in our community since 2014. The group, 100 Women Who Care, meets once a quarter at the Women’s Club Home to hear from three nonprofits serving Marion County. At the end of the meeting, they vote on the most deserving charity. The winner receives a check for about $5,000.

“The goal is to make the largest impact we can,” said Pat Case, advisory board member. “By pooling our donations, we can make a large difference in our community.”

The group was founded by Lisa Cudd who heard about a chapter of 100 Women Who Care in Columbus and decided to start one here. Doris Schwartz, Dena Coy and Deb Douglas jumped in to help.

“The news story just touched her heart. Lisa was determined to make it happen,’” Advisory Member Melinda Johnson said. “I applaud her and all of the women at the first meeting who got this started.”

At the first meeting, the founding members donated $1,425 to the Spirit of Hope Fund at Marion General Hospital to help cancer patients with financial needs. They have donated to more than 30 local charities, including the Royal Family Kids Camp, Leapin’ Outreach Center, The Explore-It-Torium Children’s Museum, senior meals, Cents for Shoes and Marion Matters.

Members invest just one hour for a meeting four times a year. They agree to donate $100 a meeting or form a team of two to five people to donate $100 a meeting. Each team gets one vote.

The recipients of the donation come to the next meeting to share how the donation is being used. For example, 100 Women awarded $5,417.33 to Downtown Marion Inc. in May. At the August meeting, Downtown Marion shared that the funds will be used to make sure every child who visits Santa in Founders Park will receive a gift.

“Santa planted the seed. He said he didn’t want any of the children to go home empty-handed,” Case said. “It warms my heart to think of every local child getting a gift.”

“You cannot live in Marion and not be touched by one of these organizations,” said Johnson. “It’s exciting to see the momentum. I learned about so many groups I didn’t know were doing good work in Marion.”

It can be hard for members to choose who should receive their vote.

“All three charities are deserving. That’s where our idea for a wish list came from,” Case said.

Starting last year, 100 Women Who Care asked the presenters to submit a wish list of items for members to donate. For example, members donated luggage for children in foster care at Marion County Children’s Services so their possessions are not transported in garbage bags. They also collected apple sauce for the Peanut Butter Jelly Truck.

“All three presenters walk away with something they need,” Johnson said.

Every charity gets to spread the word about who they are and how they make a difference as well as recruit new volunteers.

“Each meeting is full of energy and passion from local people. I love it! It’s inspiring,” Johnson said. “If you want to feel good about Marion and the people making a difference here, come and join us.”

Members nominate local charities to present at the next meeting. The group currently is recruiting more members, both individuals and teams.

The next 100 Women Who Care meeting is set for Nov. 7 at the Women’s Club Home located at 1126 E. Center St. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is from 6 - 7 p.m. The charities presenting include the Marion Imagination Library, Voice of Hope and the Women’s Club Home.

For more information, reach out to them on their Facebook page.

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: 100 Women Who Care making a difference in Marion