The event on Oct. 15 at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort raised $40,600 for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, and organizers expect to collect about $5,000 more from pledges and from those who, at the last minute, were not able to attend.
“This was an unprecedented achievement for the 100 Women movement globally and makes history for the size of the donation and the number of people per capita we had attend, which was higher than any other first meeting of any of the branches of this organization,” said committee founding Chairwoman Emma Graham-Taylor. “We had at least 406 people or their proxies there at one point, which we were able to calculate from the number of ballots cast.
“It seems right that the women of this island chose to vote for a charity that protects women,” noted Ms. Graham-Taylor. She added that while it is always disappointing that some charities would lose out in this particular fundraiser, the forum still provided a platform to publicize their work to a large and diverse audience.
Ms. Graham-Taylor cited the simplicity of the premise as a key factor in the strong attendance and the amount raised, as the format appeals to the many people who would like to support charitable causes but cannot afford too give much of their time.
The giving circle model is gaining ground in the charitable sector globally. Similar to the 100 Men Who Give a Damn movement, 100 Women Who Care members commit only to attending one hourlong meeting four times a year where they donate $100 to a common pot.
At the meeting, three charities previously chosen through a random selection process each make a brief pitch to the members, and the winner is selected by a vote.
All of the money raised goes directly to the winning charity.
Between these two currently established giving circles in Cayman, more than $90,000 has been donated to local causes this year, organizers said.
From its modest start in June as a Facebook group, Cayman’s chapter of 100 Women Who Care is now established as an official member of the group’s alliance, which has 275 members worldwide. Cayman’s committee consists of Ms. Graham-Taylor, Maya Lewis, Karen Gunderson, Stacey Alban, Regina Oliver and Sian Wienzwieg.
The group’s hard work over the summer in securing event sponsors meant that every expense, from the venue to the pens used to mark the ballots, was covered, and that all the money raised could go directly to the winning charity, organizers said.
“It didn’t cost us a penny to run the event,” said Ms. Graham-Taylor.
Plans for the next meeting, to be held sometime in January, are under way and will be announced in November. For more information, visit www.100womencayman.com.