Longtime Friends Join 100 Women Who Care
Janet Ferro and Cathi Auger playfully tease each other that if the day comes, the other one will have to speak in front of the 100 Women Who Care Elkhart County group.
The longtime friends joined the giving circle when it began three years ago. Every three months, the 100 Women Who Care group comes together for a short social gathering and meeting time to decide the beneficiary of their $10,000 quarterly gift. Ferro and Auger have participated in every meeting.
“For each $100 you put in, you get one vote for a charity of your choice,” said Ferro on how the recipient of the $10,000 check is chosen at each event.
At each gathering, all votes are placed in a fishbowl then three nominations are drawn out. The three women who submitted the votes will present to rest of the group. Some are staff members or volunteers at agencies. Others are simply women who care.
Ferro and Auger opted to split the donation and share the vote. They each contribute $50 a quarter, but both benefit from the networking and information on how a range of non-profits are working in the community.
Auger and Ferro both have ties to many organizations and make suggestions at each gathering on whom they hope gets the money. When it comes to choosing how to cast their shared vote, the women do not struggle. They enjoy working together to determine which organization they would like to help.
The two women started in a dental office on the same day in 1989 and became fast friends. They said they share values of family and community. Ferro was an aunt-like figure for Auger’s children and they even stayed with her on occasion.
Auger knew co-founder Jenny Welch, who read about the 100 Women Who Care idea and started it with Sheila Terlep. It is now one of 350 chapters in the United States who raise money for their local communities this way.
When the letter inviting her came, she invited Ferro to split a share with her, making it more possible to contribute but still be involved in the gathering. Plus, it was a way for them to regularly see each other. “You never want to do anything by yourself,” said Auger. After the hour-long event, they often go to dinner together or sometimes with a larger group of women.
“It’s just a nice group of ladies,” Auger said. “Jenny and Sheila have done a great job with it.”
Welch praised how Ferro and Auger have teamed up to help. “We really want 100 Women Who Care Elkhart County to inspire generosity among women in our community,” she said. “Learning about all the organizations and their great work is a huge benefit for them and makes our community stronger. I love their creative approach to being involved and we welcome all women to join us.”
In the last two years, more than 200 women have contributed to 100 Women Who Care. Despite the number in the name, it is not limited to 100. “More would be great,” Ferro said.
Ferro has enjoyed being involved this way. “It’s just a way to help the community,” she said of 100 Women Who Care. “There are so many services out there that are non-profit and struggle to get funding. I really like giving back to the community.”
The 100 Women Who Care is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, which partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives. Since 1989, the foundation has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by providing scholarship opportunities to local students and making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve Elkhart County. The Community Foundation seeds the local landscape, supporting plans, programs, and ideas that potentially stand the test of time. Community Foundation strives to be a local entity known for inspiring good and impacting success.