100 Women Who Care began in 2006, in the town of Jackson, Michigan. It was after an offhand comment during a business lunch that a woman named Karen Dunigan decided to take action on a need. She knew that by herself, it was a big task, but by inviting others? Well, the rest is history…
Karen 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 with executive leadership from the Center for Family Health, where other fundraising matters were discussed, that the Center’s CEO mentioned a need she learned about 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. Another lunch was scheduled to discuss the specifics of 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 DUNIGAN CHANGES HISTORY
As Karen began thinking about Center for Family Health’s need, she knew there had to be a way to quickly and easily meet the financial request presented. With all 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! The amount was more than requested to supply new mothers with the simplest need – a crib for their babies.
100 WOMEN WHO CARE IS BORN
Karen Dunigan recognized that she was on to something special. 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.
- The money had to remain local.
The idea was that a worthy cause benefits many in the community.
Karen, unfortunately, passed away in 2014, but her legacy lives on through the expansion of 100+ Chapters throughout the world. There are now more than 900 chapters either fully operational or under development. They include women, men, people, kids, and teen 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 the community.
We are each strong in our own right, but together we are a force to be reckoned with. Karen knew this, applauded it, and as such, is so very proud of 100+ Women Who Care.
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