On May 14, 2024, 156 community-minded women gathered at Otsego Resort for the OCF’s 9th Annual 100+ Women Who Care event. Since its inception in 2016, this event has raised $141,000 in 9 hours, half of which has been granted to local nonprofit organizations. The other half of the money raised from this event goes to the OCF Community Fund, a flexible, permanent resource established to address the most critical challenges and pursue the greatest opportunities in our community. 

The doors to the Otsego Resort Convention Center opened at 5pm, an hour before the official kickoff, and guests were greeted by Ambassadors Mary Tomaski, Liz Forreider, Beth Pittaglio, Toni Straughen, Tabatha Pardo, Taylar Sides, Jacki Barron, Heather Appold, Diane Pompei, Krystal Miller, and Heather Proctor. Thank you, Ambassadors, for your dedication to making this event a success every year!  

The hour before the event starts is an important part of the OCF’s 100+ WWC mission. It allows the nominated Otsego County nonprofit organizations to educate participants about their important work in our community. Although only two of the nominated organizations walk away with grant money at the end of the evening, there is value in the exposure this event gives to every group with a booth. This is another way the OCF fulfills its mission of activating generosity for a strong community.  

“Having a non-profit booth at this year’s 100+ Women Who Care was a wonderful experience.  We were able to have many wonderful conversations with women who did not realize that Kirtland Community College has a Foundation that provides scholarships to students to help pay for college. The opportunity to have casual conversations in a relaxed setting was a fun way for us to educate women about what we do. Even though we weren’t one of the randomly drawn finalists to be considered for the funding, the evening was a win in our book because of the people we spoke to and getting our mission out there.” 

Heather Appold, Director of the Kirtland Foundation

Brandie Meisner, long-time 100+ WWC supporter, and CEO of OCF Corporate Partner M & M Excavating, greeted the crowd and shared why she and her organization wanted to partner with the OCF.

“As a 50+ year old family business launched in Gaylord, M&M Excavating is proud to partner with the Otsego Community Foundation because of our common objectives. Like the OCF, M&M recognizes the power partnerships bring in gathering the necessary resources to build a solid infrastructure for our community. Together, we can do far more to support the community we love.”

Brandie Meisner, CEO, M & M Excavating

Ambassadors Jacki and Taylor took over, sharing why they spent their time and energy partnering with the OCF. They introduced Ashley Miller, representing STOP of Gaylord, last year’s recipient of the $5,000 grant. That grant money went toward purchasing an Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine at North Ohio Elementary School. STOP and any other Otsego County nonprofit organization that received a 100+ WWC grant in the last two years were ineligible for this year’s awards. Those organizations included: 22 2 None, Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center, Gaylord Last Resort, and First Congregational Church Community Meal Program.  

Every year, four nonprofit names are randomly selected, making them eligible for the evening’s grants. Representatives from each of the four nonprofits address the crowd, making their case for why they should be awarded the grant. This year, participants heard from:  

  • Heather Proctor from NEMSCA 

By 7pm, when the event wrapped, and the votes were tallied, the Otsego County Food Pantry won the $5,000 grant, and Otsego County United Way won $2,000, and every participant was a little richer.  

$5,000 grant recipient – Otsego County Food Pantry
$2,000 grant recipient – Otsego County United Way

This year, we are adding another grantmaking opportunity in the fall. Every nominated nonprofit that did not receive a grant is eligible for a $1,000 grant later this year. Details to follow, and no speaking is involved!

Thanks to our community partners, all overhead costs of the event are covered, and 100% of the participants’ contributions go directly to the winning charities.  We couldn’t do this without all of our community partners, volunteers, and donors. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in 2025!