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Philanthropic women organize in Durango to boost giving

Each member gives $100, then a nonprofit is selected: ‘It’s like a game show’

A group of philanthropic women has formed in Durango to bestow thousands of dollars in donations on local nonprofits – and they’re doing it game-show style.

“The idea is collective giving for a greater impact,” said Colleen Leppert, one of three local founders of 100+ Women Who Care La Plata.

The 100+ Women Who Care group is not a new nonprofit, rather, it is a giving circle of women who commit to gather three times a year to donate $100 each to a nonprofit selected by the membership, Leppert said. The founders aim to attract at least 100 members, so the group can grant a nonprofit at least $10,000 each time it meets, she said. Thus far, the group has 35 members, she said.

The group is based on a successful model started in Michigan that has been replicated hundreds of times across the country with groups that gather men, women, businesses and children who want to give, according to the 100 Who Care Alliance.

The group’s membership nominates nonprofits to receive donations ahead of meetings. They then place the names of all the nominees in a bowl for selection at the meeting.

Three names are picked from the bowl, and the Women Who Care members who nominated the nonprofits make a five-minute plea for the organization and explain how the money would be used, Leppert said. The membership selects the organization to receive the funding by popular vote, she said.

“It’s like a game show,” Leppert said.

The presentations during the group’s first meeting were emotional and instructive, said co-founder Jenny Howell Pritchard. “I feel like it definitely appealed to everyone’s emotions and passions,” she said.

Durango Adult Education Center was gifted $4,100 at the first meeting, Leppert said. Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County and Manna soup kitchen were also considered.

The giving-circle style of fundraising eliminates many of the costs nonprofits face when they organize events or other fundraisers, Leppert said.

“It’s efficient, and it brings people together for this common cause,” Howell Pritchard said.

The group’s next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. May 7 with an optional meet and greet at 5:15 p.m. A venue has not yet been determined.

Women who are interested in the new group can email 100womenwhocarelaplata@gmail.com.


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