The members of 100 Women Who Care Halton Hills have plenty of reasons to smile these days.
The local group of philanthropic ladies marked their five-year anniversary on Thursday evening (Nov. 16) at Acton Town Hall Centre, and celebrated the fact they’ve collectively donated more than $130,000 to local charities and not-for-profit groups during that time.
“The concept is part of the reason that we all fell in love with it - it’s so clean and so simple,” said founder Lori Gysel, who launched the group with the help of friends Heather Coles, Jill Farrington, Sarah Burrows and Liana McAlister.
“It’s 100 women who meet four times a year and they each donate $100 to the chosen charity or not-for-profit group. And ta-da - $10,000 is raised for your community in one evening.”
She noted all of the money contributed by members stays in Halton Hills to benefit local causes.
Organizations the women have supported to date include Links2Care, Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills, both food banks, Literacy North Halton, Heritage Acton and many more.
“Women are getting it done,” declared Mayor and 100 Women member Ann Lawlor during the celebration.
She went on to express her enthusiasm about the group's approach, which she said “appeals to professional Canadian women where we are in the 21st century.”
“We’re committed to healthy and vibrant communities where people’s needs are met; where we try to ensure that no one is left behind,” she said.
“We also know that by pooling our resources, we can have a bigger impact, and that taking care of one another takes money.”
Gysel reflected on their first meeting in November 2018, when she and the organizing committee nervously waited, hoping that other local women would show up.
That night, over 60 ladies answered the call to come out and support their community.
Lawlor fondly remembered the “team of Ann(e)s” who helped get things going, with over half a dozen of the founding members sharing the same name.
“We proved the old maxim that many Ann(e)s make light work,” she joked.
The group’s membership rose to 98 by early 2020, but like with many things, the pandemic had an impact and this number dipped.
“We’re still working to recover,” said Gysel, noting there are currently 73 contributing members, and she hopes to see the group continue to grow.
During Thursday evening’s festivities, 100 Women Who Care Halton Hills held its regular meeting and heard presentations from three members, all advocating for different local causes. The women went on to vote in favour of supporting the Townsend Smith Foundation this time around and its goal of building north Halton’s first hospice residence in Georgetown.
For further details on the group or how to join, visit 100womenhaltonhills.com.