The story behind 100 Neighbors Who Care
In March 2021, motivated by the idea of bringing neighbors together in a collaborative effort to “do some good” within our neighborhood of the Penobscot Valley and inspired by the success of other groups like this around the USA and beyond, we formed a diverse steering committee of enthusiastic community leaders who laid the initial groundwork and launched 100 Neighbors Who Care – Penobscot Valley.
Well, 2021 has now come and gone and you’ve written a GREAT first chapter in the history of 100 Neighbors Who Care – Penobscot Valley. We have grown from a steering committee of six people with an idea to a membership of nearly 150 committed neighbors determined to make a positive difference. And what a difference you made! We were able to conduct three in-person gatherings (June/Sept/Dec) where you came together to award a total of just under $38,000.00 to three very deserving organizations. Presently we have 27 Non-Profit Charities nominated by our members each with a chance to be selected to receive a donation in excess of $14000.00. Even beyond the donation of money, many of us gained a newfound appreciation and understanding of the works of the 8 different charities that made presentations to the group. And to think that all of this was accomplished as we continued to navigate our way through the Coronavirus pandemic with all of its associated challenges!
…Our Story Continues
So, what does 2022 hold in store for 100 Neighbors Who Care? Steady growth in membership? An expanding list of Charities that can use our support? A growing awareness of the great works ongoing in our community? One thing is for sure; none of this will happen without the continued, enthusiastic support of neighbors like you who understand the great potential of collaborative work. Our story, your story, continues to unfold and we couldn’t be more excited! Share with your families and friends the news of 100 Neighbors Who Care-Penobscot Valley and invite them to join us as we move on to another year of being a positive influence in this wonderful neighborhood we call home.
History of 100 Who Care Groups
The story of Karen Dunigan
Karen Dunigan always found it interesting that one of her greatest ideas was born from something as simple and basic as baby cribs. It was during lunch one day in 2006 in Jackson, Michigan with executive leadership from the Center for Family Health, where other fundraising matters were being discussed, that the Center’s CEO mentioned a need she learned about at a staff meeting earlier that morning regarding new mothers and portable cribs. Karen’s ears perked and she told the CEO that would be something she would like to know more about and another lunch was scheduled to specifically discuss the need.
During the follow-up lunch, details were shared on how new mothers were bringing their babies home and placing the sleeping infants in boxes, dresser drawers, or on their own beds because they could not afford a proper crib. Some of these babies didn’t survive the night. Karen was presented with a list of how many cribs were needed, the cost of mattresses, blankets, and beds. In all, a total of $10,000 was needed.
As Karen began thinking about the Center for Family Health’s need, she knew there had to be a way to quickly and easily meet the financial request that was presented. With all of her involvement in the community, Karen knew she could call ten people and ask them to write $1,000 checks, but she also figured she knew 100 women who would each give $100. She began making phone calls and scheduled a meeting. At that first meeting, in one hour, a group of Karen’s friends heard the story and each wrote checks to the Center for Family Health, resulting in a $12,800 donation, more than requested, to supply new mothers with the simplest need: a crib.
Karen recognized that she was on to something special and that it too was in its own infancy and needed to be nurtured to grow. She founded the first 100+ Women Who Care and scheduled quarterly meetings. The rules were simple, any member could present a need in the community, the need had to be immediate and the money had to remain local. The idea was that a worthy cause benefits many in the community.
Karen’s legacy lives on through the expansion of 100+ Chapters throughout the world. There are now more than 900 chapters either fully operational (650) or under development (more than 250) and they include women, men, people, kids, and teens chapters. Karen saw people for their strengths and realized that when 100 or more people come together in a room, each person becomes a powerful force for doing good work while lifting up your community.