100 Women Who Care may look different during COVID-19, but together we can do more. We had over 100 women with a heart for giving and wanting to give back to the community they love register for this year’s virtual event. During the time of greatest need, this was an impactful opportunity for these women to help their community.

On May 12th, Executive Director Dana Bensinger hosted the Facebook Live event, announcing this year’s $5,000 grant recipient, Otsego County United Way, along with the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, which received a $1,000 grant. The other half of the monies raised went into the Community Fund to support the needs of tomorrow.

“This year, the 100 Women Who Care event looked a little different. Instead of women gathering at an in-person location and enjoying each other’s company, we stayed safe in our own homes. With the challenges of this unique time, there were different donation levels this year, which benefited those who wanted to be part of this giving event. The women who registered received an email with the nominated nonprofits, featuring pictures and videos along with a voting ballot. Learning about the nonprofits in our community is a highlight of this event and we thank all those who submitted a nomination,” noted Karin Beyer, OCF Community Liaison.

For participants who have been isolated, while not the same as being in the room, the spirit of collaboration was a much-needed boost. Our nonprofits need our support now more than ever. For example, here are a few of the local nonprofits highlighted at the event:

  • Equip for Freedom: To empower people with the tools, resources and skills to equip them for sustainable recovery from substance use disorder.
  • The Gaylord Blue Devil Wellness Center: Provide enhanced teletherapy services to the students in Otsego County. Funding is needed to purchase Mindfulness training for GBDWC staff. The training would allow staff to use learned mindfulness skills with students, families, teachers and administrators.
  • New Life Pregnancy Resource Center: To provide the layette bag outreach within the community. Every month, New Life PRC delivers 12 layette bags to the local OB department to say congratulations to the parents, and to introduce them to New Life PRC. New Life PRC hopes the families will eventually connect with them and utilize the valuable tools they offer to families in our area. Each layette bag contains a new blanket, receiving blanket, towel, washcloth, one sleeper and an outfit.
  • Otsego County United Way: In the face of this health emergency, we need to focus on fighting for our Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families. We know all too well that ALICE households and those in poverty are at greatest risk during a crisis. These families do not have the resources to handle a catastrophic illness, nor can they make up for the loss of even one day’s wages, let alone being laid off.
  • The Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan: Would be able to continue providing necessary services to women and children in Otsego County who are survivors of domestic and/or sexual abuse. Due to COVID-19, the WRCNM has had to close its Gold Mine Resale Shops and Children’s Learning Center, as well as cancel fundraisers which provide necessary funding to keep its mission alive. These are particularly difficult times for women and children who may be confined at home with their abusers.

“Let’s not forget the importance of the Community Fund. While in these times, it might be hard to think about investing for the future. But because we’ve been investing in the Community Fund since 1994, 10 nonprofits have received grants this year alone, including Gaylord Area Council for the Arts, Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan, Women’s Resource Center, Salvation Army, Patriot Golf, Equip for Freedom, Charlton Fire Department, Otsego County United Way, Huron Pines, and NorthSky. In four months, the Community Fund has touched every area of the county from conservation and training, to mental and physical well-being, arts, veterans, and more. On March 13, when the impact of COVID-19 became real in our community, and before the COVID-19 Response Fund, the Community Fund granted $2,500 to Otsego County United Way so in those few weeks they could help our most vulnerable citizens,” stated Dana Bensinger, OCF Executive Director.

A HUGE shout out to our 100+ Women Who Care ambassadors: Tabitha Beach, Liz Forreider, Wendy Huston, Jessie Jensen, Janet Nowicki, Rose Robinson, Lynnette LaHahnn, and Mary Tomaski. Mark you calendar for the 2021 event on May 11th. We hope next year’s event will get us all back together in person.

The Otsego Community Foundation and the 100+ Women Who Care Ambassadors would also like to thank Phil Hofweber, Edwards Jones Financial Advisor, for sponsoring this year’s event. This event is 100% expense-free because of this sponsorship.