If you get 100 people together with each of them pledged to donate $100 … that’s a quick $10,000 you can raise.
That’s the principle behind a new philanthropic group in Corvallis, The Power of 100 People Who Care. The local group is led by Melissa Carter-Goodrum, Karen Rosenberg and Jodi Elliott.
Modeled on an experiment started in 2006 in Jackson, Michigan, the group meets quarterly, hears three pitches from Corvallis/Benton County nonprofits and votes to give the money donated at the event to the most deserving one. The group has slowly been working its way up toward that 100-member goal.
For example, at its July 17 meeting, 31 people were present, and they wound up donating $3,100 to the Grace Center, which specializes in adult day services. A check from 100 People Who care was presented Aug. 1 to the Grace Center.
Although the local chapter formed in 2017, it only began dispensing checks earlier this year. At its first meeting the 20 or so individuals present wrote checks to the local nonprofit of their choice. In the second quarter, 24 members were present and donated $2,400 to Girls on the Run, the learning center that emphasizes running as part of its curriculum.
“Our group isn't a nonprofit (or) LLC,” Carter-Goodrum said. “It's really just a mechanism for getting people together and pooling their philanthropic dollars to make a strong impact on four different local nonprofits each year. People don't write checks to 100 People Who Care; they write them directly to the nonprofit.
“Our group also helps people learn more about the needs in our community and increases awareness of what different agencies are doing in our community. It's meant to be an efficient and effective way of giving that gives a big boost to various local nonprofits.”
To be a member you have to make the $100 quarterly commitment. Members are eligible to vote for which of the three randomly selected nonprofits they want to give money to each quarter. It also allows them to put their names into a hat for the opportunity to pitch for a local nonprofit they care about.
The group meets again Oct. 16 at Wesley Hall in the First United Methodist Church, 1165 NW Monroe Ave. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. with social time and light snacks. At 6 p.m. a random drawing is held to establish the three presenters, who have five minutes to make their pitches and five more minutes to answer questions. Members then vote on which nonprofit will receive the checks, and the meeting wraps up by 7 p.m.
“People are always welcome to attend a meeting to learn more about our giving circle without necessarily becoming a member,” Carter-Goodrum said. “It’s a great way to meet others who care about our community and learn about the many wonderful local nonprofits helping make Corvallis and Benton County a better place.”