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New Chittenden County women’s group focuses on philanthropy at local level

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 8:36 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s never a bad time to start an organization with a central mission of helping others, and a new Chittenden County chapter of a national women’s group is doing just that.

A year ago, a small group of women wanted to help out the community. Fast-forward to now, and they are cutting $10,000 checks to organizations like the Sara Holbrook Community Center.

“By March, we had 10 members,” said Deb Caulo, who is a member of 100+ Women Who Care Chittenden County. The group opened its local chapter in March of 2020, thinking that with 10 members donating $100 four times a year, they could give $1,000 to organizations every quarter. But Caulo says they grew quickly to over 100 women for their most recent meeting.

“We thought maybe COVID would be a detriment to our growth, but in fact what we have heard from a lot of members is that a lot of their volunteering had taken the backseat and this was a great way for them to give back to their community without compromising their health. I think it enabled our membership,” said Caulo.

Their concept is simple. You join, you commit to donating $100 a quarter, and you get to nominate a nonprofit that serves Chittenden County. Three are picked at random and they get to present for a chance at a donation of money crowd-sourced from the group.

This quarter, it was Sara Holbrook Community Center. “Because Sara Holbrook has been a part of the community for so long, people were familiar with it and it tugs at your heart,” said Caulo.

“An enormous amount of what it takes to run this organization happens through the grace of our donors,” said Christine Lloyd-Newberry, the executive director at The Sara Holbrook Community Center.

She says subsidies from the state and grants give the center the backbone for a budget, but that it’s donors that keep them afloat. “As cliché as it sounds, it really does take a village to make all of this work,” said Lloyd-Newberry. And she says donations from a relatively new section of that “village” can mean the world. “I think the really unique thing about this organization is it is a group of women that are already giving in the community and what they have done is elevate their giving.”

Lloyd-Newberry says when organizations like 100+ Women Who Care lookout for organizations like Sara Holbrook, it serves as a stamp of approval that the work they are doing isn’t going unnoticed, or unappreciated. “It actually makes us know in a more direct way that we are doing the right work,” she said.

You don’t have to be in Chittenden County to join 100+ Women Who Care. We’re told there also is a Franklin County chapter.

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