Flamborough is now home to 100 Women Who Care.

The Flamborough-Waterdown chapter of the charitable group was founded by Mountsberg’s Doris Valade, who was inspired by an article in the Globe and Mail about the charitably-minded group.

“I feel fortunate in what I’ve been able to do within my business, as well as with my family,” she said. “In recognizing that, I wanted to find a way to give back and giving to larger charities, I feel you get lost in the crowd."

“Sometimes you’re not always sure where all the money is going.”

The first 100 Women Who Care chapter was founded by Karen Dunnigan in 2006 in Jackson, Mich. The model is that a group of women gather four times a year for a one-hour meeting, learn about local charities, and each donate a $100 check to a charity that the group selects.

Every member can nominate local charities, non-profits, or worthy causes, which are put into a hat and three names are drawn at random at each meeting. A member makes a five-minute presentation about each cause, and the group votes on which charity to donate to.

Valade, founder and president of Malabar Super Spice Co., said from that experience she knows what it’s like to start small and not always have the funding to grow.

“When I Googled to try and get involved in a local chapter, I found out there wasn’t one in the Flamborough-Waterdown area,” she said.

Valade and her two friends, Lena Aggus and Heather Kane, are the first members of the group.

“They’re both longtime Waterdown residents, they’re both equally involved in other community volunteer work,” she said. “So I approached them to help me once I started it, came on board willingly and have been a great help.”

Valade said once the chapter gets up and running she hopes the group’s contributions will be quite varied.

“The charities that are considered, so long as they are registered, not-for-profit charities, can be anything from helping animals to helping children, to helping community initiatives,” she said. “We’re not focused on any one specific community project or community area."

“We’d like to be able to support any kind of group that could use the funding.”

For her part, Aggus said she hadn't heard of 100 Women Who Care.

"I was very interested," she said, adding after she and Kane found out more about the initiative, they "jumped on board."

Valade noted she was part of the fight against the St. Mary’s Cement quarry proposed for 11th Concession, adding many of her neighbours were very involved in the battle.

“I was really impressed with the community support and the number of people in the Flamborough area that were coming out,” she said. “I didn’t realize how many active people there are.”

“So in seeing that, when I looked at doing this chapter of 100 Women, I knew that there are in fact quite a few people that are willing to get involved in our immediate area,” she continued. “So I’m hoping I can draw on that energy to bring a lot of those women together for our first meeting in January.”

Although the group’s first meeting won’t take place until January, the Flamborough chapter had a tent at a recent Waterdown Farmers Market to spread the word about the endeavour.

“We had some great responses,” she said, adding many visitors stopped by to ask what the group planned to do.

Valade added many were concerned that not all of the money may go to the charity, but she assured them it does.

“It’s 100 per cent volunteer,” she said, adding they will be reaching out to local businesses to sponsor the group — which will provide for refreshments and snacks at meetings. “All of the costs relating to the website and the promotional materials, I have donated myself.”

She noted the group now has flyers, which they are distributing around the community to build awareness.

Valade said from speaking to other area chapters, she’s learned that some groups begin with just 35 women at their first meeting.

“We have to start somewhere,” she said. “Obviously our goal is to have at least 100 women.

“The chapter of 100 Women in London, Ont., has over 400 women,” she added. “So the potential is quite neat to see, we just need to get that excitement and involvement to grow.”

The group plans to meet quarterly, with the first meeting taking place Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019.

“The whole idea is four times per year,” she said. “Each woman just comes with a $100 cheque in hand — it really is that simple.”

Valade noted they welcome anyone to attend the first meeting to find out more about the group.

"You don't have to be a member," she said.

She added the group also wants to reach out to any charities in the area to make them aware that the Flamborough chapter exists.

“They can contact us or anyone of our members to present their charity and to outline what their needs are at any one of our meetings that are coming up,” she said.

Since Dunnigan started 100 Women Who Care, the organization now features more than 600 chapters around the world and has also grown to include 100 Men Who Care and 100 Kids Who Care.

“It’s really evolved,” Valade said. “It shows just how successful they can be.

“We’re hoping that we can piggyback on that and see what we can do.”