100 Women Who Give a Hoot Group Finds Time-Saving Way to Give Back
Have you ever dreamed of making your community a better place but didn’t know how you could squeeze that goal into your busy life? A group of Triangle women have joined forces to help local charities — even as they manage the lives of others as stay-at-home moms and professional working women.
Inspired by the 100 Women Who Care Alliance, their group — 100 Women Who Give a Hoot — invites members to meet four times a year in the Triangle and to arrive with a blank check for $100. Members then watch 5-minute presentations by three local nonprofits before voting to donate to one and writing their checks. All donations go directly to the charity that wins the most votes.
Co-founders Kristy Blasey and Carolyn Walters got the group off the ground after 17 women, invited to Walters’ kitchen, immediately took to the concept this past January, Walters says.
“Every woman in that kitchen raised their hands and said, ‘Yes, I definitely want to get involved,’” she says. “So from that day to today, we have 161 members. And that is just women who loved the concept and could see it fitting in with their lives, and they were excited about being able to make a difference.”
Walters says she had sought a way to give back that could work for her. “I work full-time, and I have two young kids, and I am involved in my church, so I found myself wanting to do more, but being nervous about being over-committed,” she says. “I wanted to try and figure out how I could give back and still work it within my everyday schedule.”
Members today also include single moms and retirees. The group’s inaugural meeting in March resulted in a $11,900 donation to the Hope Center at Pullen — which helps young people aging out of foster care in Wake County — and its second event in June raised $15,000 to benefit autistic teens and adults at 3 Irish Jewels Farm. In the coming months, Walters says, members are planning to help organize two other groups, “100 Men Who Give a Damn” and “100 Teens Who Give a Hoot.”
January 2016, Carolyn Walters (in polka dotted shirt) and Angie Brandt (in brown boots) meet to get group started.
Angie Brandt, who was the group’s first member, says she joined because she wanted to do more to help the local community but had limited time after becoming a mother. Her son is now 9 and her daughter is 6. “Before I had children, I could do a lot more of volunteering in the community, but once I had kids, and they started school, I found myself spending a lot of time and effort giving back to their school, which was great. But I felt like there was just way more that I could do and that I wanted to do, and I also felt like it was important for my kids to see that I was not just giving to their school, but I am giving to local charities and how that impacts the community at large and how it models for them what they should be thinking about as they get older.”
Brandt says she finds being in a group of female peers empowering, which is why she thinks the two groups being planned for men and for teens will also take off. She believes they will catch the same feeling.
“There’s that concept that there’s power in being with a bunch of like-minded women,” she says.
Walters agrees. “When the ladies walk in [to the meeting], they don’t know who will be presenting, so there is an energy in that room. That’s exciting, and these women are just super-excited about giving back.”