Marla Berg, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; Kate Troll, who pitched the idea of donating to Renewable Juneau; Iola Young, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; and Jane Lindsey, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; smile with baskets filled with name tags and checks at the Hangar Ballroom, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Marla Berg, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; Kate Troll, who pitched the idea of donating to Renewable Juneau; Iola Young, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; and Jane Lindsey, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; smile with baskets filled with name tags and checks at the Hangar Ballroom, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Juneau women band together to make a difference

Who cares? They do.

A new organization asks its members to give comparatively little, so it can make a big impact.

More than 150 women contributed $100 for 100 Women Who Care Juneau’s first meeting, and that meant $15,400 was raised for the night’s chosen nonprofit Renewable Juneau’s Carbon Offset Fund.

The Juneau chapter of 100 Women Who Care is part of a national alliance of organizations that blend the old-school idea of a service organization with the power of crowdfounding. The Juneau group will meet four times each year and asks that each member to contribute $100 at each meeting. The collected money is given to one of many pre-approved nonprofits. The recipient of the money is decided toward the end of the hourlong meeting with a vote.

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“You’ve exceeded our wildest dreams, fueled our fire and confirmed that Juneau is a community of powerful women with big hearts,” said organizing committee member Iola Young to the women who crowded the Hangar Ballroom during Thursday night’s kickoff meeting.

While an exact count was difficult to come by, organizing committee members said the Juneau chapter of 100 Women Who Care likely have more than 150 members. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

While an exact count was difficult to come by, organizing committee members said the Juneau chapter of 100 Women Who Care likely have more than 150 members. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Young told the Empire she and other organizing committee members Jane Lindsey, Cristine Crooks and Marla Berg, expected 50 or 60 women to participate when they began to envision the Juneau chapter in October 2019. Actual participation was at least three times as robust as that expectation, and the fundraising total is expected to rise as more mail comes in, Young said.

Checks made out to nonprofits and cash are the accepted forms of donations during 100 Women Who Care Juneau meetings, Lindsey said. The collected funds can be given directly to prequalified organizations without extra banking or administrative fees.

Organizations become eligible for donations when they’re chosen by a 100 Women Who Care Juneau member, and a form is filled out. A form can be obtained by emailing 100wwc.jnu@gmail.com. Organizations must be registered 501C3s, local and apolitical. They cannot be a place of worship or an individual, Young said.

At Thursday’s meeting, the names of 20 prequalified nonprofits were placed into a hat. Three nonprofits — Juneau Nordic Ski Club, Alaska Folk Festival and Renewable Juneau — were selected. Renewable Juneau, the ultimate winner, will need to return to the next meeting in April and present how the funds were used. The organization is now out of the pool of nonprofits for a year, too.

Members who had volunteered beforehand could then make five-minute pitch for why an organization should receive the group’s donation. A vote followed, and paper ballots were quickly collected and counted.

Iola Young, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; and Jane Lindsey, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau, helps sign in a woman ahead of a meeting at the Hangar Ballroom, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Iola Young, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau; and Jane Lindsey, organizing committee member for 100 Women Who Care Juneau, helps sign in a woman ahead of a meeting at the Hangar Ballroom, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

“I’m more than happy to give to any organization that gets the vote,” said Laurie Cooper, one of the members in attendance.

Cooper said she was impressed by the turnout to the first meeting.

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“I think it’s pretty impressive, it’s supposed to be 100 women of Juneau, and it’s over 150,” Cooper said. “It really speaks to the community.”

Koren Bosworth cast her vote for Renewable Juneau but also said all three nonprofits were worthy causes. Bosworth said she voted for Renewable Juneau because she views climate change as one of the biggest problems humanity is fighting.

Bosworth said it was powerful to know her donation would be joined by more than 100 others, and she’d like to see the group’s membership continue to grow.

“I hope I can bring more people in,” Bosworth said. “I’m not a public speaker, but there’s lots of groups out there I’d like to pitch. I hope I can get my courage up.”

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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