100+ Women Whidbey awards new grant

— Created November 16, 2022 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

The Whidbey Island affiliate of I Support the Girls, which provides underwear and feminine hygiene products to women and girls in need of them, is the latest recipient of a grant from 100+ Women Who Care About Whidbey, or 100+ Women Whidbey, for short.

The group, which formed in 2021, has already awarded nearly $50,000 in grants to four nonprofit organizations on Whidbey Island. It’s a simple concept that is doing a lot of good, according to local group founder Traci Winn.

“We started in May 2021 and ended up getting 96 checks for our first grant,” said Winn.

Here’s how it works: Women join 100+ Women Whidbey. Twice a year, the names of three nonprofit groups are chosen at random from a list of nominated organizations. The three organizations share a presentation about themselves to 100+ members, who then vote for a recipient. Each member then writes a check for $100 to the selected nonprofit, and the money is distributed. There are no monthly meetings and there are no membership fees. Members are allowed to give more than $100 if they choose.

Already membership in the group has increased to 168, up from the 123 who donated for the October grant presented last week.

“I’m very much surprised by how its grown,” Winn said. “I think people like the ease of it all and the gratification of knowing the money went to the organization right away and that the organization will report back to us about how they were able to use the money. It’s just super rewarding.”

Kate Mistler, who founded the Whidbey Island chapter of I Support the Girls less than four years ago, said she was thrilled to receive the $12,000 grant. (Which actually grew to $12,300.)

“It’s amazing,” she said. “Money from this grant will cover Whidbey and Camano Islands – we can finally afford to get products for Camano. It’s a really a big boost. It will keep us going for at least a year-and-a-half, two years (without having to beg for money).”

Mistler said the grant is especially helpful right now.

“Donations have dropped off considerably,” she said. “People are concerned about their futures with the economy, or not being able to work. With this grant we can now pay for shipping to get products from ISTG headquarters. The products are free, but we have to pay shipping. So we can order in bulk and get the supplies in here. And there’s no time limit to spend this money. We can order in certain amounts and fill gaps where we need to.”

All money raised through 100+ Women Whidbey is required to be used on Whidbey Island/Island County, and as mentioned, those organizations who receive funds are able to show 100+ how the funds have impacted their mission.

“It’s totally amazing,” said Winn. “We ask recipients to tell us what the money is used for. That’s pretty powerful. Real things are happening instantly.”

There’s also a bit of a personal touch to the donations, according to Winn.

“All of the notes and letters we get along with the checks, we put them in a big bag and give them to the recipient as well,” she said. “I think people love it so much because it’s instant. Once they receive the money, they are cashing those checks and putting it to good use.

Anyone interested in joining or learning more about 100+ Women Whidbey can visit the website, 100womenwhidbey.com. The next giving cycle is in May. Past recipients include The HUB Youth Central, Kids First – Island County and SPiN Café.

To learn more about the I Support the Girls organization, go to isupportthegirls.org, or find the Whidbey Island affiliate on Facebook at facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064731007058.