100+ Women Making Otsego County Stronger

On a beautiful May night, 100+ Women Who Care came together at Otsego Club and Resort to learn about four nonprofit organization in Otsego County. What happened after listening to the stories helped make Otsego County a stronger place to live.

The women present voted to award a $5,000 grant to Otsego County Habitat for Humanity after listening to community member Annette Wells give a speech from the heart. Annette doesn’t work for the organization, she doesn’t sit on its board, she just feels that this organization does an amazing service to our community.

“As a representative of last year’s 100+ Women Who Care event recipient, Community Mediation Services, I thought the best way to honor the event was to nominate another organization to share their story,” said Annette.

“Habitat for Humanity’s story stood out in my mind and was an agency that has continued to grow over the last 24 years in Otsego County. This organization inspires, provides hope, empowers, educates, supports, and ultimately provides a hand up vs. a hand out. Their vision, “a world where everyone has a decent place to live”, is so much more. They don’t just give houses away – together, with the family and community, they build them and provide the opportunity for families to be proud of their ‘sweat equity’ and their own mortgage on a home they might otherwise may never have had. They have built over 24 homes in Otsego County.

“Habitat for Humanity’s story is even more than a home. The Habitat and Restore Staff are amazing and support each other like family. They have programs, like the Veteran program, a Critical Home Repair and a Brush of Kindness program, where they help fix or repair existing homes for families. They provide Otsego County another outlet to re-use and recycle with the Restore. They also have a program with M-Tec to teach high school students the building trades, as together new homes are built in the community for a family.

“The organization doesn’t just give once and walk away. They are like parents, building the foundation, ensuring all the tools are available, and the family is ready and able to be independent and successful for years to come! They empower families to build, to commit and to work hard. I think they have an amazing story, and I am delighted more people will get to hear it, and I am excited to see what the financial gift Habitat for Humanity won from the 100+ Woman will do in Otsego County!” said Annette.

“What a huge surprise! Thank you to Annette Wells for nominating our organization. Thank you to all the other great organizations in the same room as Habitat for Humanity for sharing your stories. Thank you to all the women who supported us. Thank you to Otsego County Community Foundation for this wonderful event! It touches so many people and I am still on cloud nine! Otsego County is truly such a giving community!” stated Heather Cleveland.

The other three organizations to receive grants during this event were Otsego County Library, Otsego County Economic Alliance, and Otsego County Wildlife Society.

All four of the organizations are amazing nonprofits that make a tremendous impact in the lives of those who live in our community. The remaining half of the money raised that night was put in the Community Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation. By supporting the Community Fund, you capitalize on opportunities and sponsor innovative solutions. Established over 20 years ago, the Community Fund is a permanent charitable resource that goes through your giving. When you add to the endowment, you help meet the needs of our community today and for years to come.

“I am still pinching myself over the fact that we won the vote of the women at the Foundation’s 100+ Women Who Care Event. Every once in a while I look at the joy on Heather and Becca’s faces and say a prayer of thanks to the Foundation for giving the nonprofits a voice, and to Annette Wells for sharing such an impactful Habitat story!” noted Tish Jankowski, Executive Director of Otsego County Habitat for Humanity.

“So often we hear women say they wish they had more time, more money, more knowledge. 100+ Women Who Care breaks down those barriers, and each member has a gratifying experience knowing they have truly made a difference in the community they love,” said Dana Bensinger, Executive Director of OCCF. “With the Community Fund component, that difference isn’t just today or tomorrow, but forever. That’s powerful.”