When Erin Lee arrived at the podium at the 100+ Women Who Care meeting on February 24, 2020, she said in a shaky voice, “I’m not a public speaker. I actually hate public speaking. But the fact that I’m up here is a testament to how much I believe in the work of SWOVA.” With that, all of the members present for that meeting were intrigued.
But that introduction isn’t what guaranteed the members’ votes. Members heard three excellent presentation at this meeting, one by Louise Doucet presenting for Gulf Islands Families Together Society (GIFTS), the presentation for SWOVA Community Development and Research Society, and the final one by Dorrie Ferster for Greenwoods Eldercare Society. They were followed by murmurs such as “so difficult to choose” and “I’d like them all to win!”
These three presentations, like those in previous meetings, were heartfelt and informative and exuded the passion and care prevalent on Salt Spring Island. Members who are present for these presentations not only cast a secret ballot and donate to the charity with the most votes, they also leave the meeting with a greater understanding of how the nonprofit sector on Salt Spring Island provides necessary services to islanders young and old.
Erin Lee’s presentation spoke as a parent and as a member of the community about the benefits that children and youth gain from programs offered by SWOVA in SD64 schools. When asked how she felt about giving the winning presentation, Erin Lee commented: “Honestly, I felt completely shocked. But so happy. It still doesn’t feel real. The whole evening is blur. Thank you to all of the members of 100+ Women Who Care who voted for SWOVA and for the youth of our island.”
Sarah Belknap, Chair of the board for SWOVA, said, “We’re delighted with and very grateful for the support that 100+ Women Who Care has given SWOVA. Their donations will ensure that our programs can empower more of our children and youth to feel confident about themselves and their ability to contribute to their families, schools, and community.”
Since its inaugural meeting in November 2018, the group has raised nearly $80,000 total to benefit the community in various ways. The meetings are held at ArtSpring, where members currently raise nearly $20,000 in less than an hour. Recipient charities are able to use 100% of these funds in ways that they need most, as long as the charity’s efforts directly benefit the community. Learn more about upcoming meetings, how to join and/or nominate, and how this high impact philanthropy model works: 100womensaltspring.org.
All photos by Ramona Lam Photography