“When you hear grant recipients tell real stories about how our support has made a difference to people’s lives, that’s when you realise this is what it’s all about,” says 100 Women founder, Alicia Curtis.
“It’s always the connection that keeps you there. It’s what gives you the boost to get back in the trenches and make a collective giving organisation like 100 Women work—it needs a lot of energy and commitment.”
Now in its third year, the Perth-based collective giving group recently awarded more than $90,000 in grants to three nonprofits dedicated to helping women and girls: Australian Cervical Cancer Screening Foundation, AUSUM Initiatives and Girls from Oz.
The sell-out event brought together 143 women and men to connect with and honour the grant recipients.
It was, Curtis says, the perfect demonstration of everyday philanthropy in action.
“For us it’s about a philanthropic journey and getting as many people involved as possible because there’s such an appetite to make positive change in the world.”
Over the past three years, 100 Women has distributed almost $300,000 across nine organisations, enabling everyday people to play their part in a world where women and girls can live safely with access to health, education and economic freedom.
One hundred per cent of member donations go to grant recipients, and every member has voting rights in the grant recipient selection process.
Taking into account member feedback, the collective giving group has just unveiled a new donation structure, offering membership at three different levels: $300, $600 or $1200 per annum.
“This change means our members can choose their impact and get involved straight away,” Curtis explains.
“Everyone gets the same voting rights and it allows people to tailor the donation they’re able to make year by year. For instance, if you’re doing well one year, perhaps you choose the $1200 membership, if not, you can do less. We want to make sure our doors are open to everybody.”
“At 100 Women, we try not to be bound by tradition but be innovative in the way we see what everyday philanthropy could look like.”
Members of 100 Women range in age and cultural background, with Curtis and the Board committed to seeking diversity wherever possible.
“Traditionally about half of our members have been under 40 which is something that’s a bit different in philanthropy—in fact, I think I’m one of the youngest on the board,” laughs Curtis.
“Because diversity is so important, we’ve reached out to some of our older, wiser, more experienced members and invited them to be on the Board and that’s been wonderful. There is a richness that comes from different generations working together.”
Like many other collective giving group founders, Curtis believes the increasing popularity of collective giving speaks to the importance of connection and empowerment.
“So many people are feeling stressed and anxious about what they’re seeing in the world around them,” she explains.
“It’s more important than ever to have positive places where people can come together, connect and make a positive difference.”
“Everyday philanthropy for us is about dealing with that stereotype that philanthropist are rich and famous, white and male,” Curtis says.
“Giving gets so confusing for people. We’re really just trying to break down those barriers by showing that you can start really small and join together with others in a collective movement.
“It’s an opportunity to come together and stand up for the values we believe in—giving circles articulate that in such a tangible way. They’re values in action really.”
In the words of everyday philanthropists
Seven members of 100 Women share their thoughts about what their involvement has meant to them:
Being a member of 100 Women has allowed me to see the real impact my donations are having for women and girls far less fortunate than me. As I start my fourth year of membership, and after seeing nine grants awarded already, the positive stories are unfolding and as a result continue to inspire me to stay a member. 100 Women is about commitment and being part of a group with energy, passion and fun, but most of all, a real desire to make positive change. Being a member of 100 Women is both a privilege and a pleasure – Carol Yiannopoulos
I have been a member of 100 Women for 3 years. 100 Women is a fantastic way to collaborate and meet other awesome women who want to make a difference in our community. With not a huge investment it gives the everyday person a chance to be a philanthropist and be part of something special. Alicia is an inspiring role model that has created an opportunity for all of us! Getting to vote, meet and learn about the organisations that our money goes to each year also makes it really meaningful – Donna Edwards
My contribution makes a real difference to lives and to communities. I am helping to enable those that know what they want to do, they just need some funds to do it. And all that for half on what I spend on coffee each year. Seems like a bargain to me. I am very new (joined 1/1/17 as part of my new year’s intentions). So far, I have been blown away by all that is being done already. Reading the proposals makes you realise how much good is out there in the world, and how many people are doing good every day, with very little fanfare. And of course, the warm and fuzzies that come from feeling like you’re contributing to something good, something meaningful, something that will make a difference – Tammy Tansley
It is an organisation whose founding members and practical structures I trust, and its impact is a fast track avenue for having my dream impact on others. Three years in, and I have been far from disappointed – Kathryn Yew
This tremendous collective effort is an inspiring and positive way to start a conversation with new people and have the opportunities to contribute and impact positively on women’s lives. It is not only about charity, it is about each of us having a chance to empower other women – Alina Racu
Unlike so many other forms of charitable giving, 100 Women allows YOU (along with fellow members) to be in the driving seat with regard to where your money goes. And importantly, 100 per cent of your donation goes to directly benefit the women and girls involved in the chosen good causes – Helen Axton
100 Women welcomes members and potential collaborators from across Australia. Learn more about the group’s inspiring work here.