How One Johnson County Women’s Organization Is Making a Difference

Writer / Lynda Hedberg Thies 

Photography Provided

In our busy lives, we often don’t think we have the time to volunteer. While we want to help those in need, sometimes we just don’t know what organizations to give to or if our donation will even make a difference.

There is one organization, 100+ Women Who Care Johnson County, that allows you to commit only one hour every 90 days. It also allows you to network, meet other women, and learn about nonprofit organizations in your community. Even better, it lets you know that 100% of your donation will go to a local charity.

The group was founded by Carol Phipps, the director of Interchurch Food Pantry. Phipps was involved in a chapter of 100+ Women Who Care in Edgar County in Illinois. She enjoyed its mission so much that she wanted to bring it to Johnson County.

In December 2015, she collaborated with Dorcus Abplanalp, Cheryl Morphew and Gail Richards to form the group through the Johnson County Community Foundation. The current steering committee chair, Ro Umbargar, has also been involved since the beginning.

The group invited everyone in their circle of influence to a kickoff luncheon in December 2015. At the first meeting in February 2016, the group boasted 48 members and awarded its first “no-strings-attached” grant of $4800. Phipps notes that you do not have to live in the county that the group is formed in.

100+ Women Who Care Johnson County is a group of women who gather four times a year for a one-hour meeting. Members are invited to nominate a nonprofit organization and three are randomly selected. The member that nominated them then presents information about the organization.

Each quarter, the group learns about local charities that they might not otherwise know about and each donates a $100 check to the charity that the group selects. The donations leverage the individual contributions for a greater impact. The 100+ Women Who Care Johnson County group has grown to over 125 members, and to date has awarded more than $160,000 to 14

Johnson County nonprofits.

The first recipient was the Interchurch Food Pantry and was nominated by a volunteer that had toured the facility (not Phipps) because of how impressed she was with the program. It just so happened that the heat went out the day the group met and the heating system needed to be replaced.

“It was such a surprise to have my organization nominated and to receive that grant was such a blessing because it was winter, so our organization could not have remained open until it was fixed,” Phipps says.

She went on to say that she “is thrilled to see so many organizations that do such great work in Johnson County receive these awards. I know what a difference it can make.”

While the group is all about supporting nonprofits and making a difference in the community, the organization has proven to be an efficient networking group. Many of the organizations have found volunteers and created connections that they otherwise might not have made. Member Sonya Ware-Meguiar, the Chief Executive Officer of Girls, Inc., knew about the organization because she knew the founding members.

She says, “I love it because they run efficient meetings. We have some social time and then we get right down to business and they start the meeting on time and end the meeting on time. There are a lot of new organizations that I have learned a lot about, so many worthwhile causes, visions and missions that other organizations are trying to get accomplished that I might never have known about if I had not been part of the group.”

In Johnson County alone, there are more than 200 nonprofit organizations that are engaged in serving those that live in the community. There are plenty of organizations that members can nominate. Once a recipient has been awarded the funds, they must wait two years before they can be nominated again.

The remaining meetings for 2019 are August 1 and November 7 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. There is a social time prior to the meeting at 4:45 p.m. Meetings are held at Garment Factory Events, 101 E. Wayne St., Franklin, Indiana. There is a $12.00 meeting fee that covers the cost of the room and refreshments (cash bar available). Interested guests are welcome to attend one of the meetings and only pay the $12 meeting fee.

If you would like to join 100+ Women Who Care Johnson County or learn more about the group, visit jccf.org/100-women or call 317-738-2213.