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.
On June 28, 2021, we held our inaugural gathering and raised a total of $10,000.00 for our first recipient charity and we were thrilled! Despite the hurdles presented by the pandemic, we held two more in-person gatherings that year (Sept/Dec) and finished the year with a membership of 150 committed neighbors, 7 generous sponsors, and a donation total of just under $38,000.00!
We began our second year, 2022, with great enthusiasm knowing this would be our first full year (4 gatherings) and we were not disappointed. By year’s end, we had welcomed an additional sponsor, grown to a membership of 165, accepted 33 nominations for nonprofit charities, and reached a total donation mark of just over $100,000.00! Most importantly we had experienced the power of collaborative giving and seen firsthand the positive difference we could make right here in our neighborhood of the Penobscot Valley.
Today this remarkable group continues its extraordinary work. Our membership and charity nominations continue to grow along with our total donation which will soon reach $200,000.00. Hidden behind all these encouraging numbers is perhaps the most powerful impact this group provides and that is the positive and uplifting sense of accomplishment felt by its members as they come together to support one another and “do some good” for our families, friends, and neighbors.
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.