FRIENDLY FACES - Karen Smilar

Blackfalds-based ‘100 People Who Care’ continues to support community

For some not-for-profit organizations, raising money can be a tricky thing.

  • Oct. 8, 2015 2:00 p.m.

For some not-for-profit organizations, raising money can be a tricky thing. You have to be able to connect with the people who want to donate to your group. And if you’re one of those who wants to donate to a local charity, sometimes figuring out which agency to donate to can be a challenge.

That’s the purpose behind 100 People Who Care.

“So 100 People Who Care is sort of an offshoot of an organization called 100 Women Who Care,” said Karen Smilar, one of the women who founded the Blackfalds-based organization.

The idea behind the group is that four times per year, members gather and each donate $100 to a cause. The goal is to be able to donate $10,000 to a charity every time the group meets.

“This was an initiative that was initially started in the States several years ago and it’s really focused on just supporting local service clubs,” Smilar said during an interview.

The group was started by Smilar and her friend Jill Bried earlier this year to allow people who may not have time or the ability to commit two or three hours to volunteering for a community organization.

“(They) can write a cheque for $100 four times a year and attend a meeting for an hour once every quarter. That’s really as simple as it is,” Smilar said.

The group meets four times per year for about an hour. During their meetings, they decide which organization they would like to support that particular time. Every registered member of the group who is contributing at that meeting can nominate an agency that they think deserves the donation.

“Anybody who’s a member of the organization can put forward a nomination,” Bried explained, adding that the cheques that members are asked to write are then made out directly to the winning organization, not 100 People Who Care.

So far, the Blackfalds chapter of the group has met twice; once in June, when the group voted to support the Blackfalds Food Bank, and again this month, when they donated to the Blackfalds chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Lacombe.

Smilar and Bried first met through their volunteer work in the community. Both women are deeply involved with volunteerism. Smilar works at the City of Red Deer and Bried works at FCSS in Blackfalds.

“For me it’s a sense of giving back to the community and supporting the community,” Smilar said.

When the two women were considering starting the program, they decided to start it in Blackfalds because it’s where they live.

“It’s not just Blackfalds. People from Lacombe can come and join if they want. They’re more than welcome,” Smilar said.

So far, the group has about 10 registered members and has held two meetings, with the goal being to reach 100 members or more.

“Even this last meeting, though. That’s $1,000 for the Food Bank that they probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Bried explained, adding that even just a couple of people can make a difference.

Bried added that 100 People Who Care is also a way for service groups to get one big donation instead of 100 smaller ones.

“If an organization has an initiative or a project, it’s a way to get a larger lump sum,” she said.

In order for 100 People Who Care to consider a nomination, the organization must be based in Blackfalds or the surrounding area (including Lacombe) that is a registered charitable organization. They must also be an established organization that has been operating for at least one year and be eligible to provide tax receipts.

Because the group isn’t a registered charity, they don’t accept any cheques or donations made out to 100 People Who Care.

“The funding doesn’t get funnelled through a bank account of ours or anything like that. It goes directly from our members to the organization that wins the donation,” Smilar said.

One of the ideas behind the 100 People initiative is the relatively small time commitment required. It only requires about four hours per year to participate.

“(People) sometimes get involved in volunteer initiatives where they’re told it’s an hour and that’s it and it really turns out to be 20 hours a week or way more time than they’re interested in giving. With this it really is four hours per year, that’s it. You come to the meeting, it’s an hour and you’re out the door,” Bried said.

The group also has options for people who are interested in joining the initiative but can’t afford the $400 per year financial commitment.

Members can have a team of up to four members who contribute a combined $100. The team still only gets one vote, she said, but it’s a way to get involved without breaking the bank.

Anyone who is interested in joining the cause can join the 100 People Who Care-Blackfalds facebook group to stay up to date on meeting times and locations.

If you would like more information about the 100 People Who Care initiative you can email Blackfalds100people@shaw.ca.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

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