Sunday, April 16, 2017

Strengthening Our Community

Recently, I was asked why I co-founded 100+ Women Who Care NRV.  Truthfully, I hadn't really thought about it in depth at the outset - it simply sounded like a good idea.  But, I have come to learn that among the many reasons, the biggest is because I wanted to strengthen our community.

There is no single solution to breaking the cycle of poverty. By helping to create community conditions that support this region’s most vulnerable families, 100+ aims to increase the chances of these vulnerable neighbors of having stable housing, finding employment, building a secure future, and raising healthy children who will succeed in and out of school. 
The organizations we support, and whose impact to the community we hope to increase, need to work well together.  They need to be shaped by the families that benefit from their work.  They need reliable sources of funding and public policies that support their work.  As a 100+ member, you have taken steps to provide funding and in order to ensure that your donations are as powerful and effective as possible, you should also consider the latter (public policies) when you cast your vote at election time.
The goal of 100+ Women Who Care NRV is to help create pathways to opportunity for every child and family in the New River Valley.  We believe that strong and inclusive communities can more effectively help families and children reach their full potential.  Our donations have provided funds to help families in transition, increased educational opportunities and helped with the daunting costs of medical care for the poor.
To address the immediate needs of families and children, and to develop strong community partnerships, we provide direct donations to local non-profit organizations that work with specific target populations. These organizations use their local knowledge and strong networks to address the unique needs of their communities.  However, on the way to lifting up our entire community, we are building a network of friends and family.  There isn't a day that goes by that I do not run into one of the amazing women who are part of the 100+ group or a recipient of funds from us, and it always brings a smile to my face.  It feels great to live among people who are willing to give to help our community create opportunity and solve its own problems.  With a willingness to donate and develop partnerships with local philanthropic institutions, we are better able to understand and address the needs of our community and the vulnerable families that live here.
Thank you!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Giving Smart

Everyone knows that the holiday season is when people write about giving (back).  This past holiday season was no different.  What was different for me was that I found the articles to be not only interesting, but enlightening. Some of the information was the standard fare such as; that giving isn't only good for the receiver, but for the giver as well, or that the biggest mistake givers make is to donate impulsively.  However, some of what I read was new and noteworthy.

For starters, I plan to read a book called "Survivor Diary" a memoir by Jimmy Wayne about his life. For those that aren't familiar with the name (I wasn't!), Jimmy is a country singer.  He was starved, abused and abandoned and had a heartbreaking childhood.  Jimmy was one of the lucky ones.  He was rescued by a chance encounter with a kind stranger and a guitar.  But before that, he was in and out of foster homes and his own home was a violent drug den where at one point a stepfather pulled a gun on him. While my own parents raised 23 foster children, it was before I was born.  I am very unaware of what the system is like for those in it.

The worst part of the system is the end.  Every year, about 22,000 foster kids age out of the system and are on their own.  Without extended care, one-third of former foster kid will become homeless by age 26; only half will have a job by age 24, 71% of young women will become pregnant by age 21, and many will end up in jail.  Many believe that it doesn't make sense to extend care, but when "biological children turn 18, we don't expect them to be totally self-sufficient.  Why would young people who've been traumatized be able to make it on their own?" (GH November 2016 Graves, Ginny)  There are ways to help.  A good place to start is at

I also learned about an organization called "Points of Light."  It honors volunteers for their service with a Point of Light award.  It is the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service awarding people each weekday throughout the year and motivating millions of people around the globe to make a difference.  If you want to learn more about them, or be among the many who receive recognition for doing good - go to, click on Choose Your Issue, select from the menu and plug in your zip code to see give-back opportunities that match your passion.  When I did this, I chose Education and put in the Blacksburg zip code.  What came up was a very varied listing of places that needed help right here in the New River Valley, from Headstart, to Alexander Black House and Good Samaritans to the Girl Scouts.

However you choose to spend your time and/or money it's important to spend ten to fifteen minutes at a minimum researching the organization to ensure it's legitimate and reputable.  Such charities will have an online presence (at least a Facebook page) but if not, it should raise a flag.  Their website should provide information on their programs and how they use funds.  You can search local media to see what kind of coverage the charity or members of its board have received.  Finally, go to to confirm that a charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

Finally, take the time to do some homework and bring the name of a reputable and deserving organization to our upcoming meeting (click here: 100+ Women NRV Forms and complete the Charitable Organization Fact Sheet and submit prior to the meeting).  Who knows, maybe they'll win our quarterly donation and you can go home feeling like you're a star.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The importance of marketing

I don't know about you, but I hate ads.  I TiVo favorite shows so that I can skip the advertisements, I skim through my magazines avoiding the ads and I listen to NPR not only because of the great shows and myriad pieces of information I pick up, but because it is ad-free.  The reason NPR doesn't advertise is because they do not want to be beholden to those advertisers for content.  So, they do fund drives to get the money to keep the station going.  We need to be equally dedicated to our cause and market our group!

Some might not believe that investing in marketing is necessary for non-profits (NPO), but it is quite beneficial for an NPO to market itself. NPOs use marketing to assist with growth, funding and longevity. Without these things, the overall mission of the NPO is diminished.

100+ Women Who Care NRV is dedicated to growing (adding to our committed member base), funding (getting the maximum donation amount and matching grant possible), and longevity - being in the NRV raising money for as long as it takes to end the need.  However, we are an organization without overhead.  So just how do we do it?

Marketing strategists suggest that just as a for-profit business targets a certain audience with its marketing, so should a non-profit. NPOs should develop a picture of the person most likely to support them in their cause or benefit and target their marketing to them.  They also say that it is crucial for the non-profit to build its brand. The brand is typically a logo, wording, motto or design that identifies the group.

Non-profits are beneficial for individual groups of people, but they also benefit the community. For this reason, public relations are a large part of marketing. The local press should know the story of the non-profit. NPOs should utilize newspaper stories to share statistics, provide pictures and advertise fundraising events.  We do this.  Each and every quarter.  But it isn't enough.  We haven't reached our goal of 100 or more committed members.

Networking is very effective marketing for non-profits as people spread the word about the goals of the organization.  That is where you, dear committed member, come in.  Please share your joy at having joined our group.  Talk with friends and family about how a small commitment can make a huge impact in our community.  If you have purchased a 100+ Women Who Care NRV t-shirt, wear it with pride.  Answer questions about it when asked.

We have targeted our audience - YOU and women like you.  We have branded our group - see the logo at the top of this blog.  We continually reach out to the local press - see our website (100+ Women Who Care NRV) for some of the newspaper articles and TV spots about us.

YOU can help us by inviting friends and family to become committed members.  If someone you've referred becomes a committed member, we will give you a 100+ Women Who Care t-shirt for free. Then you can help even more by wearing it to workout, to grocery shop or to take the kids to the park.  The more eyes that see our brand the more likely we are to reach our goal and be better able to serve our community.

Will you help us market 100+ Women Who Care NRV?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Inspiring, Amazing and Awesome - What motivates us to give?

I was reading an article in the September 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping (Awesome Women 2016 by Erin Bried) about 25 women who encountered situations that needed solutions.  Each of these women came up with an awesome and inspiring way to tackle them.  It got me to thinking, "What motivates us to give of our time and money?"

When asked "why people donate" the number one reason given is "to receive a tax credit."  Yet, nobody ever makes money from giving money.  Clearly, this is not the reason - not just because you don't make money by giving money away, but because many people give of their time and other resources, not just cash. So, why then do we give?  

While we all have internal motivations (such as a religious or moral imperative) and external pressures (the number of people asking and which causes are closest to your heart), research has found the most important reason for giving is the relationship with the person who is asking. That being said, there are other motivations for giving which loosely fit into six categories: impact, appreciation, mission, impulse, recognition, and benefit (

ImpactEven when a donor says they want nothing in return, they want to know they are making a contribution for good.

Appreciation Appreciation can come from something an organization did for us directly, for someone we care about, or simply from gratitude for good work being done.

MissionWhen people have a vested interest in the work of a charity, they give because they share the same mission.

ImpulseCertain issues just have an emotional effect that causes people to give even when that gift could have greater impact elsewhere.  Emotional connection and giving in memory of a loved one are well-recognized triggers. 

RecognitionSome donors simply like the attention that comes from donating. This can be a company seeking exposure, but it can also be an individual that likes the events, project naming and publicity that can come from making a donation.  Some donors simply like the positive feeling they receive from being appreciated.

BenefitPerhaps the most controversial motivation for donating to a cause is for personal benefit.  The donor is looking to procure non-tangible benefits such as the opportunity to meet a politician or celebrity or be entered in a give-away.

Understanding what motivates others to give is crucial to a charitable organization's fundraising scheme.  Asking their donors this question often results in a wave of the hand, or a brush-off, but in truth it is critical to both the giver and the recipient because the donor wishes to feel satisfied with their giving and when they do, they will likely give again.

Regardless of what your motivations are for becoming a part of the 100+ Women Who Care NRV group, we are happy that you have joined us.  It is your relationship with the other women in the group and your connection to your community that will hopefully keep you coming back, and encourage you to invite others to join.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Science has proven that giving feels good

I am currently reading “Giving 2.0” by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen.  It’s a book written for anyone wanting to use her own resources and/or life to make the world a better place.

Every day people want to touch the lives of others.  Yet, Ms. Arrillaga-Andreessen points out that much of our giving is reactive – “we write checks when natural disasters strike, we give to our schools and places of worship, or we support friends running a marathon for a cure.”  While these things are important and uplifting, she points out how important it is to find a way of giving that empowers you to move from reactive to proactive giving.

Giving through 100+ Women Who Care NRV is a calculated and proactive way of giving.  It is a decision to localize your giving and ensure that those who are most needy in our community are served, thereby lifting us all up and improving the environment we live in.  By listening, and by having a chance to ask questions about the local non-profit organizations, we get to choose how our donations are used and see the positive results.

We live in a fast-paced world, with non-stop demands on our time, money, and energy.  We care for spouses and children and support aging parents.  In our work life we face unrelenting pressure.  It is because of this that 100+ Women Who Care NRV is so appealing and successful.  Through its collaborative funding framework, donors partner with other funders, increasing the overall funding amount and sharing the burden of evaluation.  One hour, $100.00, four times per year, four hours total and we can raise $40,000.

Science has proven that giving stimulates the brain in the same way it is stimulated when we eat food or have sex.  It’s a base level of feeling good. We give from our hearts.  We give because it makes us feel good.  What are you waiting for?  Join us in doing good and feeling great!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Giving More to Our Community Just Got Easier!

Advancing the Interests of Women and the Arts

in Virginia and Beyond

Our first quarter has come and gone. What a first three months it has been.  We raised over $5k for the Children’s Museum Blacksburg and have acquired a few more committed members.  We are working with the museum to ensure that all donors receive their tax receipt and are excited to learn what they have done/plan to do with the funds.

If you haven’t seen the news - we have secured a matching grant sponsor. We are so very excited to have been discovered from our article in the Roanoke Times by The Secular Society.  After several meetings they have agreed to match our donations for the next THREE YEARS at $.50/$1.00 up to $5,000 per quarter.  So, if we reach our goal of 100 women making a donation each quarter, we will then be giving away $15,000 each and every quarter.  How awesome is that?

The Secular Society is advancing the interests of women and the arts in Virginia and beyond.  They are a not-for-profit Virginia Corporation organized in 2013 and recognized as such by the United States Internal Revenue Service.  Currently they are supporting:

1. Free Clinic of the New River Valley - Women's Health Program
2. Pulaski Adult Day Service and Fall Prevention Center -
3. Radford University - Nursing Scholars
5. Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley - Prevention Specialist and Emergency Response Coordinator
6. WVTF Public Radio -
7. 100+ Women Who Care – New River Valley! – 100+ Women Who Care - New River Valley Chapter

With a matching grant, everyone wins!  Who will you encourage to become a committed member of our group come July 19?  Every additional member brings us closer to receiving the full matching grant.  To sign up, click on this link… I want to be a committed member!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What some folks will do to raise money for a charitable organization!

Constance Hall, a blogger from Perth, Australia, has helped inspire a massive fundraising push for a charity that supports young girls who have been sexually abused in Kenya.

This Senator Is Sacrificing His Luscious Hair For Cancer Victims

As part of “The World’s Greatest Shave” organization’s efforts and despite having the strongest hairline in the Australian parliament, WA senator Scott Ludlam has vowed to shave his head to raise money for victims of leukemia.


The Try Guys Try The MS Mud Run

If you haven’t heard of the Try Guys, they’re a group of four hilarious men: Eugene Lee, Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld, who take it upon themselves to try an array of scenarios and situations for entertainment and educational value.


These Naked Students Are Trying To Raise Money For The Drought

A bunch of students in Australia made a calendar to raise money to end the drought in Sydney.

Solve This Crossword Puzzle For A Good Cause

A Doctor’s Without Borders gimmick to raise funds.


Obama Pays Tribute To White HouseStaffer Killed During Charity Bike Ride

Jake Brewer, a senior technology advisor to the president, was killed on Saturday while participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

These are some of the headlines from recent articles about charitable endeavors around the world I’ve seen.  The lengths people will go to, to raise money for their charity of choice.  BUT


Do you really want to get naked, or shave your head, or run through mud to raise money for what you are passionate about?  Or, would you prefer to have a good meal, a drink, and some fun while taking four hours and $400 of your time and money annually to support charitable efforts of the needy right in your own community?  From fighting illness, to homelessness, eliminating human, animal and drug abuse to education – all noble enterprises that make our community a better place to live.


If 100 of us in the New River Valley come together, that $400 quickly turns into $40,000. At our recent kickoff meeting on April 19, 2016 – we gained momentum.  We have 46 committed women who donated close to $5,000 in 1 hour.  Wouldn’t it feel great to give that and more away each and every quarter; to be a part of helping those in our community, where we can see our contributions making a difference?

I’m looking for a few good women here in the New River Valley to join me in the fight to eradicate all the need in our community.  Together, we can do it!  Check out our website ( and complete a commitment form today.