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100 women who give a hoot and are doing something about it

A local, non-profit organization with a unique model is making a real impact on the Triangle.

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Carolyn Walters (far right) of 100 Women Who Give a Hoot
By
Coleen Hanson Smith
, WRAL Go Ask Mom

A local, non-profit organization with a unique model is making a real impact on the Triangle.

Known as 100 Women Who Give a Hoot, these 100 or so “fun, like-minded women” donate $100 every quarter to make an immediate, sizable donation to a deserving local charity. The group started in Raleigh in March 2016 thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of its founder, Carolyn Walters.

We checked in with Walters, a mom of two, to learn more about what the group does. Here’s a Q&A:

Go Ask Mom: Is this a unique concept of yours, or is this type of philanthropy seen in other places?
Carolyn Walters: 100 Women Who Give a Hoot was born in 2016 from a concept that was introduced by a woman named Karen Dunigan of Jackson, Miss., in 2006. While Karen has since passed, there are hundreds of giving circles implementing different variations of the “collective giving” model.
GAM: What personally inspired you to start this organization?
CW: I hit my mid-40s, my kids were no longer babies and while I enjoyed my job, I was seeking more meaningful work. My friend Kristy and I began exploring how and where we could apply our skills to make a difference in the community and came across the concept of giving circles. I immediately fell in love with the idea of bringing like-minded women together with a purpose that would have an immediate, tangible impact.
Courtesy: Carolyn Walters
GAM: Describe the average member, is it the same 100 people at every meeting?
CW: We call ourselves “women with big hearts and limited time” because we realize that in this day and age, we are all really busy! Our members range in age from late 20s to 85 and there are 200 members in our Raleigh/Cary/Apex group alone. Our meetings typically have about 100-120 attendees, and there are always new members at each meeting. It’s amazing to me to see how many new friendships have been formed through these meetings.
GAM: Why do you think this approach to fundraising is appealing to women?
CW: As women and/or moms, we are often juggling our busy families and sometimes trying to balance a career on top of that. Life is busy. Many of us want to do our share to help out where we can, but often, we find ourselves overcommitted and sometimes afraid to sign up for more than we can handle. With 100 Women Who Give a Hoot, our members know exactly what they’re signing up for: $100 per quarter and one hour per quarter. That’s it. What’s even better is that when we all come together for that one hour, those $100 donations add up and we get to see firsthand how impactful it can be when we all come together with one purpose. Our individual $100 gets combined and, all of a sudden, we are donating $15k, $17k and sometimes even $20k in one hour! 100% of our donations go directly to the nonprofits; It feels really good to be a part of something so simple, yet so impactful.
GAM: What inspires your philanthropic spirit, why do you give?
CW: I give because it makes me happy to help others. Before this group, I had donated here and there and volunteered from time to time, but I never really felt like what I was doing had much of an impact. Through 100 Women Who Give a Hoot, we know we can make a meaningful difference and that’s not only impactful, it’s empowering. I have met so many amazing, strong women who also have a heart to give back; I have found my tribe.
GAM: Tell me a little bit about you – what do you do when you’re not fundraising and planning meetings?
CW: I am a proud mom to Eva, 17, and Max, 15, and wife to Jeff, the kindest, most supportive man I have ever known. I have been in sales for over 25 years and am fortunate to work with a mission-based startup company in San Francisco called Future Family, where we help women, men and couples navigate the sometimes challenging world of fertility. When I’m not driving my son to band practice or shopping for dorm items for my daughter, you’ll find me with my family and friends trying my best to look like a wake surfer on Badin Lake.
Courtesy: Carolyn Walters
GAM: I hear there’s a 100 Men Who Give a Damn, too – started by your husband! How did you inspire his philanthropic spirit?
CW: Actually, my husband was the one who introduced me to this concept after reading an article in his company’s newsletter about a similar men’s chapter in Canada. I immediately fell in love with the concept, called the founder with a bunch of questions and the rest is history. After watching the impact our first chapter was having, Jeff got the “bug” and decided it was time to create one for the men. We created our own nonprofit and now each of our chapters falls under that. While each chapter may do things slightly differently, we all have the same look and feel and follow the same basic formula. The ladies’ meetings may have a few more flowers though…
GAM: How much money have you raised to date, and what are some of the organizations you’ve supported?
CW: Since we started in March 2016, we have donated over $300,000 to local nonprofits! We have expanded quite a bit and now have two chapters of 100 Women Who Give a Hoot (Raleigh/Cary/Apex and Chapel Hill/Durham), 100 Men Who Give a Damn and 100 Teens Who Give a Hoot who operate as a club in Leesville Road High School. What an awesome group of kids! Some organizations we’ve supported include Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, Hope Center at Pullen, SAFEChild, Raleigh Rescue Mission, Dress for Success Triangle, US Veteran Corps and many more.
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