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One Hundred Local Women Making a Difference

Susan Beaupre and Katie Woodard rode the ski lift at Arizona Snowbowl one day in 2014, and by the time they reached the top, had put into motion a charitable giving circle.

Their brainstorming so far has raised more than $85,000 for local charities through Women Empowering Northern Arizona (WENA), one of more than 400 active chapters of 100 Men Who Care, 100 Women Who Care, 100 People Who Care and 100 Kids Who Care around the globe. These groups have formed under the umbrella of the 100 Who Care Alliance launched during 2006 in Jackson, Michigan. One of the newest chapters, Prescott Area Women Who Care (PAWWC), took shape in February.

WENA snowballed when Woodard approached Beaupre after hearing about the charitable technique from a friend who had joined a chapter out of state. An avalanche of local support grew to more than 100 Flagstaff members, including four additional women on the committee to help implement three meetings a year. Flagstaff area residents Lynn Firth, Jill Henkenius, Beth Thomas Schildgen and Aubrey Skaggs are actively involved with the steering committee.

Women favoring a low time commitment and the ability to pool contributions for a larger lump sum donation also have discovered the benefits of networking and learning about the variety of charitable causes in the community.

“I have loved bringing these different women from all over town together to raise money quickly for our amazing local non-profits,” Woodard said. “And the networking opportunities are wonderful as well. I also have loved learning about so many amazing local non-profits that I did not know existed. The only challenge I can think of is that so far, we keep outgrowing our venues. But that is a great problem to have.”

Citing Flagstaff as the perfect community for a giving circle, Beaupre explained how WENA works: “The idea is simple. Get 100 women together, present three charities, vote, then write a check directly to the charity with the winning number of votes and present the charity with the checks.”

Beginning with a $7,600 contribution to Sharon Manor in May of 2014, WENA members have donated between $7,900 and $11,500 to each of eight additional Flagstaff area charities: JLB Project, Northland Family Help Center, Boys and Girls Club of Flagstaff, Flagstaff Arts Council, Flagstaff Shelter Services, Feeding Northern Arizona’s Future, Sara Morley Scholarship and The Literacy Center.

“It has been very rewarding starting this giving circle in Flagstaff and watching it grow each year,” Beaupre stated. “More than $85,000 shows [WENA’s] success in Flagstaff. Our goal is to always keep WENA simple, efficient and fun, and continue to make a huge impact in our community.”

Firth, a member of the WENA committee, described meeting every few months as a reminder of the great community in which she lives. “We are surrounded by a lot of good people doing good things for others. I am always amazed at the number of passionate people in Flagstaff who are working for the benefit of others. I learn about a new charity at each meeting.”

She says WENA is a quick and easy way to help support the growth of local programs. “You see and hear directly from the source where your charitable contributions go. With WENA, I don’t wonder if my charitable contribution is going toward a six-figure salary.” FBN


By Sue Marceau, FBN


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