COLUMN: 100 women who care

When writing opinion about the news, it is hard not to have a negative spin on issues. Pointing out where someone or something has screwed up. How, as armchair quarterback, you would do something differently. An angle that was not thought of, a consequence that was ignored by the powers that be. Social media and the great connectivity between everyone has made it easy to share the inane and arcane. Good news stories have become fewer and far between in opinion. Except in this instance.

Cornwall Newswatch reported this week on a chapter of the group “100 Women Who Care” starting in Cornwall this spring. One of the people involved with the Cornwall chapter, Tracey Veinotte, started a group here in South Dundas in 2015. Veinotte, along with retired high school teacher Janeen Wagemans, launched “100 Women Who Care” and raised over $20,000 in a short period of time. Their goal was $10,000. Raising that amount in South Dundas is no short order. With the amount of groups competing for money and the spread-out population.

The group voted to split the money to help a few worthwhile local groups’ projects. The key points here are that it was local, there was something physical being done, and people could vote on it.

The goal was to raise local money that would stay here. The hospice,  senior support center and the splash pad are all in the boundaries of South Dundas and all received funds. There were other worthwhile projects and groups considered. While the Winchester District Memorial Hospital is ever fundraising, and all the usual suspects of charitable causes were out there, they were ineligible. The money could not leave South Dundas.

The money had to be used to build or do something. It could not go to operating funds to keep a group running, or pay staff. It could not stock the shelves. There had to be something physical completed. Something the donors could go up to and say, “I was a part of this, I helped put that here.”

Voting on the project is the best part. Each person who donated their $100 could vote. They could also propose a project to be done. The democratization of fundraising at its best. This donor group coming together to discuss, vet and vote. The donors could decide where to put their money. And it worked.

The only two unfortunate things of this “100 Women Who Care” initiative: that men couldn’t take part in this well-run community initiative; and that no men in the community have gotten together to do the same.

That would be a good challenge for the men in South Dundas this year, as well as in Cornwall. It is good to see groups like “100 Women” do this and grow.