Like many women, Tracy Yost’s volunteerism revolved around her children’s activities. Community service was a resume builder. Life was busy; time was tight.
Then, in 2013 — having just moved from Fairfield County to Santa Cruz, California — she discovered “100+ Women Who Care.”
Founded in 2006 in Michigan, it’s an organization so clever I barely know where to begin.
Three names are drawn, randomly. The 3 members who nominated them make 5-minute presentations, “selling” their causes.
Everyone then votes on which cause to support. The winner gets all the checks — made out to them, on the spot.
100 women = $10,000. Amazing!
Within a year, Tracy’s nominee — Coastal Watershed Council — was drawn. She spoke passionately — and won.
“It was an amazing, powerful experience,” she recalls. “I felt so empowered, and so connected to the community.”
A few months later, her husband was transferred back to this area. Tracy knew she wanted to start a “100+ Women Who Care” chapter here.
A woman in Wilton had the same idea. Beth Kisielius contacted — out of all 150 or so chapters in the US and Canada — the Santa Cruz one for help. The 2 women connected quickly, and fortuitously.
Tracy arrived in Westport on January 16 (her birthday — go figure). Within a week, she and Beth had planned a working dinner.
Since then they’ve set up Facebook pages, a website and newsletters. Neither woman had ever done something like this, but clearly they are on a mission.
Now they’ve set a date for the 1st Fairfield County meeting. It’s Tuesday, March 10 (DoubleTree by Hilton, Norwalk). A social hour (5:30-6:30 p.m.) precedes the “business” meeting (6:30-7:30).
“We’re looking for women who are too busy to volunteer, or who like to know all the little things going on in the community, who like to get involved outside of their children’s schedules,” Tracy says.
“I felt connected to the community,” she says. “I felt empathy, because I heard very personal stories about people who struggle. I felt part of a group who strives to make a difference locally.
“The group not only donates 4 times a year. They connect people. They seek out ways to help. They raise the bar. They empowered me.”
Your charity doesn’t even have to win, for you to feel good. “It’s great just to tell 100 women about a really terrific cause,” Tracy notes. “And sometimes you spark an interest, and end up with new volunteers for your organization.”
(For more information on 100+ Women Who Care — including the March 10 meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Norwalk, click here.)