The Way I See It: A gathering of Women Who Care

An innovative new program spearheaded by local women will help non-profit groups throughout the North Okanagan

I felt very excited to be in a room where within an hour more than $5,000 was going to be given to a local charity and with the emphasis on our community initiatives.

In the end the amount raised was closer to $7,000 because Vernon being the generous community it is, 140 women came out for the 100 Women Who Care  inaugural meeting.  The participants make a commitment that over four meetings in one year they will contribute a total of $200 each; $50 per meeting and that will see four local charities receive the funds raised.  The local Habitat for Humanity chapter is the first recipient and these dollars will go a long way to their life- changing work.

Having been in the business of raising funds for non-profits I know a gift of $7,000 can be extremely helpful. Many of our local non-profits need fundraised dollars to provide the services they do because even if they do receive government contracts those dollars do not cover all the needs. Working with non-profits the government is able to stretch their service provision because the non-profit costs are lower and can provide service often in innovative ways. I really want to be clear that the people working in non-profits deserve to be paid decent and comparable wages as they often have the same academic and work experience qualifications as their government colleagues and are doing very challenging work.

Funds like the Women Who Care money can pay for development of new program ideas, be used to pay for much-needed capital improvements, client supports, can be used to get more funds from other sources for matching funds. When I was at the Family Resource Centre, funds like this were used to start the Parenting Isn’t Easy program; counselling services for children who were grieving; client emergency funds and a host of others.  Any of our groups would have great examples of how the funds can be very useful!

There are many organizations in Vernon that will really appreciate this community boost. Each often has a wish list where they can use extra dollars.

In addition, four local organizations will receive a financial boost and this is a chance to educate 140-plus donors on the registered charitable services in our community and the benefits they provide. This in turn will hopefully see more dollars coming their way as well as volunteers and community champions who are promoting their value to their friends, colleagues and community.

My friend and I were so caught up in the spirit of giving that we came up with a couple of more ways we could make a difference in our community and I am sure many others did the same.

Women Who Care is an international development and is another great example of grassroots initiatives that are improving our world.

Hats off to the local women who initiated this in Vernon and to the group’s continual success. I heard that in Kelowna they have a “Men who give a Damn” group who are doing the same.

Reaching out to these local organizations is going to make a difference. The way I see it,  Vernon just keeps getting better, from our healthy living motto to our acts of kindness, we are making our world a better place to thrive.

Michele Blais has worked with children and families in the North Okanagan for the past 29 years. She is a longtime columnist with The Morning Star, appearing every other Sunday.