Founders

The founding members of Power of 100-Southwest are Katie Kearney Bidwell, Jan Eian, Susan Holman, Pei Ling Jamison, Irene Kelly, Stacy Newgaard, Janene Phillips and Carolyn Vinup.

What is the “Power of 100?”

Some lucky Minnesota nonprofits are about to find out.

Power of 100 Southwest-Women Who Care is hosting its first meeting from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at Biaggi’s, 8251 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie.

“Join us, be a part of a new dynamic group of charitable women! We are an empowering grassroots group of women committed to charitable contributions through a simple, member-nominated, selected and funded process. Contributions benefit charities throughout Minnesota that are near and dear to our hearts,” according to the event website.

Though there isn’t a formal national organization for Power of 100 groups, and there are no dues, there are guidelines that other groups have followed and that the southwest metro group plans to use as well.

“That’s part of the beauty of it is the simplicity,” said founder Stacy Newgaard.

Each member or group of members contributes $100 toward a charity, nominated by members. Each $100 equals one vote toward the charity or nonprofit. The nonprofit with the most votes on the meeting night gets the contributions that are collected that night. The person who nominated the group will speak about the group – and gets to be among those who deliver the checks.

Founder Irene Kelly said that visiting another Power of 100 group, Power of 100 Twin Cities, which is based in the northeastern suburbs, was awesome. “I can’t emphasize enough how generous they’ve been.”

Ideas from the other club include having a lawyer vet each nonprofit to ensure it meets the Power of 100 criteria, which include being a nonprofit in operation for at least two years.

The local club started after Rotarian Jim Lockman saw a story about that Power of 100 group in the paper and brought the idea to the women in the Noon Rotary Club. Founding members of the group, some from the Noon Rotary and Eden Prairie A.M. Rotary, ran with the idea. The founders of the group are Katie Kearney Bidwell, Jan Eian, Susan Holman, Pei Ling Jamison, Kelly, Newgaard, Janene Phillips and Carolyn Vinup.

The Eden Prairie Noon Rotary and Eden Prairie A.M. Rotary provided seed money. Lisa Thomas with Working Design was the group’s logo and website designer. Groups will be vetted by Soffer Charbonnet Law Group.

Kelly said that often a lot of time, effort and energy goes into a fundraiser.

“Here, in basically one hour, we have the potential to generate $10,000 for an organization.”

Founder Susan Holman said that “even more than the money, is the fact that there is a gathering for a cause.

“Power in the name is really what this is about. It was a very powerful, emotional experience. To know that mothers and daughters and friends were all coming together for a single cause.”

The group expects members to have opportunities for leadership and learning, as well as fun and fellowship kicking off with this first meeting. The group plans to meet quarterly.

So what is the power of 100?

For the organization receiving the funds, “It’s the difference between night and day,” Newgaard said.

For more information, or to register, visit powerof100southwest.com.

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