Give Where You Live
Zionsville Century Club Supports Local Charities Through 100-plus Men Donating $100 Every Quarter
Photographer: Bradley Kercheval
Having been involved with charities and on nonprofit boards in the past, Todd Sullivan knows the amount of hard work, time and effort often spent by such organizations on fundraising. So once he got wind of an efficient, streamlined donation model that several groups around the state have been using in recent years as a way to help local charities, he knew he had to bring it to Zionsville.
In 2014 Sullivan founded the Zionsville Century Club, and he says the idea is refreshingly simple — four times per year a group of men meet up for one hour with checks in hand, vote on a local charity after a little networking and social time and write out $100 checks right then and there.
“There are several other groups around Indiana doing it — we bring as many people together as we can all at once, and together we can make a big impact,” says Sullivan, a 13-year Zionsville resident originally from Ohio. “It’s really about the collective and all of us together. It’s one thing for me to give $100 to charity, but it’s another for 100 or 130 guys to all give $100 at once. That’s where we truly make an impact for these charities.”
Each quarter the Century Club members meet at the Zionsville American Legion and each member can bring a suggested Central Indiana-based charity, the name of which gets dropped into a bag. Three are then picked at random and the members who suggested those three charities have the chance to give a five-minute presentation, after which the members vote on which charity gets the nod.
“There’s no treasurer, executive director or board members,” Sullivan explains. “That’s the beauty of it – 100 percent of the money goes to the charity and the checks are written right at the meetings. We can’t thank the American Legion enough for hosting our meetings and we try to support them as much as we can, even if it’s just stopping in for lunch or a pint of beer.”
Since the first meeting back in November of 2014, the group has grown from 22 men to more than 100, and Sullivan hopes to reach the 150 mark in the near future. A total of more than $120,000 has been donated to charities like School on Wheels, Little Wish Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville, Cruzin’ 4 a Cure and College Mentors for Kids.
“We’re consistently above $10,000 now at our meetings, which is great,” Sullivan says. “Our numbers fluctuate and guys come and go, but we have a solid core of guys who have been around and are here for the long haul. And you can always mail in your check if you can’t make the meeting.”
Zionsville residency is not required for membership, and the group includes members from Carmel and Indy. While the Century Club is a men’s group, Sullivan points out that Women of Impact Boone County is a local organization with a similar model for interested women.
“The hardest part is choosing which worthy cause will receive the money each meeting,” says Ryan Diem, Zionsville Century Club member and former offensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts. Diem also assists with the group’s website and outreach.
“Several groups have had a chance to present a second or third time and typically get their moment,” Diem adds. “It’s really neat to see how many men are passionate about, and active in, these foundations and trying to make a difference in our community.”
Visit zionsvillecenturyclub.com for additional info and to join the Zionsville Century Club mailing list.
For more info on Women of Impact Boone County, visit communityfoundationbc.org/community-leadership/women-of-impact.