Vernon’s community of caring swells

Men Who Give a Damn, Women Who Care and Kids Who Care

There is a remarkable initiative alive and well in Vernon – the 100 Women/Men/Kids Who Care – and they have raised more than $214,000 to date over the past three years in the north Okanagan.

How? Quietly, efficiently and with purpose.

It started in February 2016, when a group of five Vernon women got together and created the 100+ Women Who Care – Vernon Chapter. Angelika Jaeger, Loreen Ruault, Noelle Crombie, Jamee Moffatt and Judy Rose (with latest member Bronwyn Watson now part of the group) were inspired by Rose Sexsmith spearheading the Kelowna Chapter and for their inaugural meeting, they had more than 150 members and raised over $8,000 for Habitat for Humanity.

The Vernon Chapter gathers at the Okanagan College Kalview Café run by Basketcase Catering (and are so grateful to Dean Jane Lister in allowing them space to hold these meetings), with the next meeting taking place Wednesday, Feb. 13.

The Kelowna Chapter was astounded at the enthusiasm Vernon had for their first meeting – a true testament to the remarkable community spirit Vernon has. In the closing of their third year this past December, the 100+ WWC group have awarded more than $102,000 combined to Habitat for Humanity, Family Resource Centre, North Okanagan Trail Riding Association, Mental Illness Family Support Centre, People’s Place, Bill’s Place, Independent Living Vernon, North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, Canadian Mental Health Association – Vernon Chapter, Community Dental Access Clinic, the Cherryville Community Foodbank Society and the Vernon Women’s Transition House.

See: Women caring about their community

On June 15, 2016 the first meeting of Vernon’s 100 Men Who Give a Damn took place at Martens Brewpub. Andrew Thompson, and faithful sidekick Lyle Doucette wanted to pull like-minded, busy professionals together once a quarter for a beer, a bit to eat, and a chance to “give a damn” for local charities and non-profit organizations.

The quick, simple meeting structure seems to have been a hit. Fast forward two and a half years and 10 meetings, and Vernon’s men really have been “giving a damn.”

They too have been very successful with awarding the Upper Room Mission, the Rail Trail, Teen Junction, the Food Action Society, the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake, the Oak Child & Youth Advocacy Center, Vernon’s Live Well Clinic, Vernon Search and Rescue, and the BX Scouting Group over $111,000 combined to date.

That makes over $200,000 injected into the local community over the past three years. Truly making a difference for many and varied causes in the North Okanagan all with four meetings a year and a handful of dedicated volunteers and loyal members.

See: These men give a damn

The next 100 Men meeting is Feb. 20 at Martens.

New to this momentum is a 100 Kids Who Care chapter in Vernon. March of 2017 saw a 100 Kids Who Care Vernon chapter form. It is a group of local youth between the ages of five and 17 that donate $10 of their own money four times a year to three member nominated charities that make a positive impact in the world.

It’s about inspiring and enabling youth to make a difference and help them grow to be adults who believe they can change the world. There is an awesome app to make it easy for all to be involved and they offer family-friendly evenings to bring them together as a community of givers. The Next 100 Kids Who Care event is March 6 at the Kalview Cafe.

See: Vernon launches 100 kids who care

The 100 Women Who Care is a movement that started in 2006 in northern USA by Karen Dunigan and has grown to over 850 chapters worldwide. There is a website listing chapters and offers tools and guidelines – www.100whocarealliance.org

The basic concept is this – the group of women (men, teens, children) get together four times a year for a one-hour meeting, learn about local charities, and each donate directly to a charity that the group selects. This combined donation makes a real impact, without time-consuming fundraising events and planning.

When a member attends a meeting, they get two pieces of blank paper. One is to nominate a charity and the other is to vote. Three charities that were nominated in the last meeting are present and have five minutes to speak to the group of their mandate and how the funds would be used, should they be awarded. The members then vote, the votes counted and the winner is announced so that the members can make their cheques out to the chosen charity before leaving. As they leave, members leave their nominations for the next meeting. The committee randomly picks three charities for the next meeting. This way there is a bit of an element of ‘surprise’ for the members when they attend a meeting since the three charities chosen are not revealed until the subsequent meeting.

See: Caring women support mental health

All local Women Who Care members agree to write a minimum $50 cheque to the chosen charity, though many donate more. The 100 Men Who Give A Damn have a minimum of $100. The Kids give $10. The absent WWC members can mail in their cheques or send E-transfers to a chequing account generously supplied free of charge by Vantage One Credit Union. This way the 100+ Committees are truly just a tool to get the funds from the public into the charity’s hands quickly and easily. Women and men of all ages are welcome and accepted at every meeting. Only members who attend the meeting can vote and any charity that is awarded (by the women or men’s chapters) is not eligible for re-nomination for a three year period and they must be a North Okanagan registered charity able to provide tax receipts for the donations received. The 100+ WWC Committee hope that in 2019 every member will continue to commit to donating quarterly and with the current 165 membership count, they hope to hit 200 members and award $10,000 to the chosen charities. They are also looking for a social media volunteer to assist with spreading the word about this worthy cause. For more information email 100womenvernon@gmail.com. All three committees and awarded charities to date would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for the amazing support the members have given with this concept. Not only are the funds always needed, but the opportunity a charity has of giving a five minute presentation spreads the word about their cause and has resulted of several cases of other donations being accepted outside the said voted awardees. Things like needed furniture, gaining new volunteers for their cause, or extraneous donations. It is truly a win win for all involved.

If you would like to join the women, men or kids groups – contact them at 100womenvernon@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/groups/100womenvernon, www.Vernons100Men.com, www.facebook.com/vernons100men, www.100kidsvernon.ca, www.facebook.com/100KidswhocareVernon.


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