What started as a simple act of kindness, blossomed into an organization of hope. Power of 100+ is an organization run by women for women in the St. Croix Valley. During a lunch in 2006 in Jackson, Michigan, Karen Dunigan was inspired by the Center for Family Health to assist new mothers in need with cribs and sleeping materials. The total cost of the project? $10,000.
Determined, she figured she could reach out to 10 individuals she knew and gather the necessary funds to meet the need. Her idea expanded. “I could get 10 friends who could get 10 friends,” she says. “If all 100 friends donated $100, we would get the $10,000 needed.” From there, 100 Who Care was born. After Dunigan’s death in 2014, word of mouth sparked a continuation of her legacy.
Founder and board member Lucia Bell discovered the organization while overseas with her then-husband. “When you are married to a military member, the spouse is the backbone of the base,” Bell says. “I was involved in supporting military families.” It was during that time, a friend introduced her to Dunigan’s story and her powerful organization. With the help of research, community organization and networking, Power of 100+ was formed in Hudson, Wisconsin, alongside founding board members Darcy Kealy, Heidi Gilbert and Laura Foster.
Four women, including Bell, came together to form a purpose: To foster awareness of community needs and unite to make a powerful, financial impact. “Twice a year, the board members host an event, gathering 100+ women, for one hour, with a donation of $100 a piece.
It is that simple … Everyone walks away with some funding that night,” Bell says. “But the biggest platform is awareness.”
Not only does this group of women raise funding for their community and beyond, but the group also makes sure to promote local organizations, as well. With its diligence and compassion, its board has continued to grow, adding current board members Shelli Erck, Michelle Johnson, Bridget Mayer, Sarah Tostrud and Shawn Trebnick. “The first board did not run in the same circles. We just brought our networks together,” Bell says. “Our new board does not run in the same circle either. A diverse group is valued among this team, as it helps to reach a broader audience. Branching out is something these women value. While the board services the whole valley, they do not plan to stop there.
All women are welcome to attend the events. However, to become a member, you must fall under the category of a 501(c)(3) organization, such as charitable, literary or educational organizations, to name a few.