ZELIENOPLE — In a matter of minutes 100 Women Who Care Cranberry Township raised more than $4,500 for a local charity.
The women met June 19 at the Spring Street Café in Zelienople to eat, drink, socialize and use their combined check-writing power to make a big impact on one local nonprofit.
“It brings together lot of dynamic women who have an interest in improving the community,” said Daryl Scott, a member of the group. “We can make a big enough donation each time to have it mean something.”
This time their donation went to Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey, an organization that operates therapeutic and competitive ice hockey programs for physically disabled individuals in Pennsylvania. The team is based out of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
The concept of the group is to get each woman to donate $100 at each quarterly meeting. The combined amount raised is given to a local charity the group chooses, making a larger impact than if each woman gave that amount separately to a charity.
At each meeting, three members can each nominate a charity and give a pitch for why it should be chosen as beneficiary. The organization must be local or have a local chapter to win support.
The women vote on which group to support, and then they write a check directly to the winning charity.
Heather Clark started the Cranberry Township chapter of the group in fall 2016 after attending a meeting for the Pittsburgh chapter. The Cranberry chapter had 15 women at their first meeting. Now they are close to 50, Clark said.
They have given money to The Children's Institute — Traumatic Brain Injury Unit, Mars Home for Youth, Cranberry Public Library, Neighbors for Neighbors and I Carry My Sister's Heart.
100 Women Who Care was founded in 2006 in Michigan. There are now more than 250 chapters across North America.
The Cranberry chapter draws women of all ages and backgrounds from around Butler, Beaver and northern Allegheny counties.
“The goal is 100-plus women,” Clark said. “We're relying on word of mouth and women bringing their friends along to get there.”
Scott and her sister, Denee Stevenson, have been part of the group since last year. Stevenson said she joined first, then brought her sister along and they both got fired up about what the group was about.
The sisters enjoy that 100 Women benefits local charities, that the meetings are intimate and fun and that it doesn't take much time to make a big impact. The meetings last about an hour.
“We love it,” Stevenson said. “We're making an impact.”
The effect on a local charity was felt by Dawn Hack and Jenna Kratsas, who run Once Upon a Hero.
Once Upon a Hero was founded by Hack as a way to channel her grief after her father died in 2013 trying to rescue a girl who had fallen off a cliff at McConnells Mill State Park. The Cranberry-based nonprofit raises money for families in need, and last year helped the Robinson family in Jefferson Township with costs related to 9-year-old Kristofer Robinson's new prosthetic leg.
Hack said she heard their nonprofit was nominated at the fall meeting for 100 Women Who Care and decided to go to check it out. At the winter meeting, they were nominated again and this time they were selected to receive funding.
Once Upon a Hero received more than $4,000 from 100 Women Who Care Cranberry in December 2017, Kratsas said, which then went directly to the Robinson family.
“It was huge,” she said. “It was extremely powerful.”
The experience was such a positive one, Hack and Kratsas joined to pay it forward and interact with like-minded women.
“I love meeting new people, meeting people with the same interests and the same heart as you,” Hack said.
For more information on the group and future meetings, visit 100womenwhocarecranberrytownship.org.