By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Every three months, women of different ages, cultures and occupations gather in Oshawa with the mutual goal of making a difference in their community.
The Oshawa chapter of 100 Women Who Care was established in April 2015, building on a movement that began in Jackson, Mississippi in 2006.
This movement has spread across the world with more than 550 chapters now established, including groups for men, children and teenagers. There are also a number of mixed membership groups.
Julie Kobrynovich co-founded the Oshawa chapter along with her friend Angela Longley.
“My brother and father joined a men’s group in New Brunswick and they’d tell me about the work they did. I thought it was pretty interesting,” Kobrynovich told The Oshawa Express. “I’ve always been somebody who likes to give back.”
Kobrynovich estimates in the past three years, 100 Women Who Care Oshawa has contributed approximately $45,000 to local charities.
The Oshawa group usually sees between 25 and 45 members at each meeting, welcoming women from all walks of life.
“There are variable ages anywhere from 20s up to 70s,” she explained.
The premise of 100 Women Who Care is simple.
At quarterly meetings, the group selects three local charities from a pool suggested by members.
Representatives from these charities are asked to speak on what type of services or supports they provide, and how they would use the funding.
“Members are allowed to ask questions, such as if [the charity] gets government funding or have paid staff or volunteers,” she adds. “It’s a pretty simple concept. The whole purpose is to help the community but still allow us to keep it simple.”
Once the presentations are completed, members vote on the three options and the selected charity receives $100 from each member.
“Once they receive funding, they are taken off the list for two years,” Kobrynovich states.
Charities that are not selected will have another opportunity at a future meeting.
To qualify for support, charities must be a registered non-profit or charitable organization that has been in existence for at least one year. Charities must also be able to provide tax receipts to members.
Some organizations that have been beneficiaries include Rose of Durham, Their Opportunity, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oshawa-Whitby and Bereaved Families of Ontario Durham Region.
To Kobrynovich, the appeal of 100 Women Who Care is assisting local organizations who may fall under the radar in comparison to larger charities.
“We sometimes forget the small organizations that are helping people living around the corner from us.”
New members are always welcome, and women can join as individuals or part of a group.
“I always offer to people to come and sit in on a meeting to see whether it’s an organization they’d like to be part of,” she says.
Aside from helping out worthy causes, Kobrynovich says she has been able to meet new friends and network through the group, while also discovering things about her community than she wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
For more information and to get in touch with 100 Women Who Care, visit dr100women.wixsite.com/100womanwhocaredr or go to www.facebook.com/100WomenWhoCareOshawa/
The group’s next meeting takes place on April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Kedron Dells Golf Club.