Two women had the dream ofbringing people together to raise significant funds for non-profit groups in need. Together with three other women heading the mission, it didn’t take long before 100 Women of Yankton was off the ground and running.

As I sat with the group’s steering committee, the energy and drive from the group was remarkable. Amanda Adamson, Whitney Devine, Lindsay Hovden, Frani Kieffer and Kristi Tacke filled me in.

It all started when Kieffer and Tacke were at a meeting for a non-profit organization and learned that the group had to start fundraising as their funding source was ending. The two greatly wanted to help. Tacke recalls her thoughts, “It seemed like a similar story we hear from non-profits in our area. The two of us were talking about how it would be great to be able to raise large sums for funding needs and the concept was familiar to both of us – with Frani having done deep research in a past professional position of hers. We walked out of that conversation both agreeing to not let this idea die. From there we started brainstorming women that could help us get the group going, reachedout to the other women currently on the steering committee and here we are!”

It didn’t take long for them to get Adamson, Devine and Hovden on board. It wasn’t something they could accomplish overnight, it took the group about 8 months to workout the details, using similar groups as guidance.Their informative kick-off meeting was held in October 2017. By reaching out to women they knew and relying on word of mouth, they were hoping that they would have several women in attendance. The meeting room was so full, it was standing room only. They were shocked to find 85 women interested in the venture. Their purpose was clear: a group of 100 (or more) women who care deeply about the community “We didn’t want people to replace giving,” Tacke states. “We wanted to say, look at this as your disposable income, what you are spending on coffees or something else that could come out of your budget and go toward a good cause inYankton.”They waited until the holidays were over before scheduling their first meeting in February 2018.

With the desire to make the fundraising as easy and painless as possible for their members, the guidelines they presented to the members were simple:

• They meet two times per year for an hour and each member brings a $100 check.

• Prior to each meeting, members can nominate a nonprofit or cause they feel passionately about via a Nomination Form which is completed and then submitted to the Steering Committee. The suggested organization does need to meet a few criteria to be a candidate.

• Five unduplicated nominations will be randomly selected.

• The nominating member of each group will give a five-minute presentation about the organization and why the organization was nominated.

• Present members will vote via ballot and one organization will be the recipient of $10,000.

• Each member, whether present or not, will write a $100 check to the selected nonprofit.

The first meeting was a huge success with about 120 women in attendance combining donations of over $11,000 going to the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. More than $11,000 was raised for the Clothing Closet in 2018 and Pathways Shelter received donations this year of more than $14,500. In three years, the group raised a total of just under $40,000 to make a huge impact on these organizations.

Kieffer states, “That’s money that probably would not have been in the community before.” She explains that even if one of the nominated non-profit groups isn’t chosen for the donation, it’s a great way for them to get their information out and explain their purpose.The receiving organization appreciates the flexibility of the use of funds. Hovden explains, “Another thing the agencies really love is that they are unrestricted funds. They tell us what they’re going to do with it, but it’s not like a typical federally funded grant where there’s only certain things you can spend it on.” She is surprised to see how much of an impact this fundraising has made to the organizations in the community. Adamson adds that she was also surprised by how many needs there are that she wasn’t aware of.

The group is extremely grateful for their members, stressing that they are the reason for these great impacts on the community. “The steering committee just organizes everything. It is truly what the membership wants, happens,” states Devine.

The members, like the steering committee, are women of all different ages and with various backgrounds and careers. Though the semi-annual meetings are held to an hour, they explain that some women stay after to talk with others. Devine smiles, “It brings people from all over the community together and it’s really amazing to me to see.” She laughs as she explains how she’s had multiple women approach her enthusiastically after a meeting with an eagerness to meet again. The steering committee met many people during this journey, including each other.

Tacke was surprised at how relatively easy it was to begin the group and get so many members involved. “I think that speaks volumes for our community that people are so generous and so ready to give up their time and their money to organizations.”Devine is thrilled to see the overwhelming support of the members and the community. The passion that their members have toward their organization has surprised her the most. They all agree that Yankton is a very giving community that tends to pull together to tackle the needs in front of them.

Now at 170 members, they welcome anyone who wants to join,including men and organizations. Though they started off with the female demographic, they would love to see men and organizations become involved to increase the impact on the community. There is the option to join individually or as a team of up to four people.

The sky is the limit for the group. You don’t have to be a local resident to be involved, they have some members from out of town. They’ve heard feedback from members who love the fact that the organization doesn’t involve countless hours of volunteering and they’ve learned that they have sparked people in other communities to start a similar fundraising group.

Tacke is proud of everything the group has done so far. “The factthat this exists, the fact that we’ve already helped three very worthy organizations and that we’ve managed to come together and donate almost $40,000 to our community. I think that alone says a lot about the character of the women involved.” She continues, “We want everyone tobe part of this. Whether it’s by being an individual member contributing $100 each meeting or part of a team contributing $25 each meeting. We also don’t want this to be in place of other donations, reach deeply and contribute more. Consider discretionary income and earmark this donation and watch the impact it will have on our community.Adamson reveals what makes her proud. “Seeing the positive impact on the community needs given by so many women with the like minded collective giving spirit!”

Tacke enthusiastically explains the many benefits of being involved with the group. “Not only are we a great source of funding but we’re alsoa great platform for non-profits to share their individual stories. Where else can these organizations come and have an audience of around one hundred captive listeners? It’s a great opportunity for them and our members as well. Every meeting is an opportunity to learn and give. It’s a win-win!”

For more information on the 100 Women of Yankton organization, please visit them on their Facebook page - 100 Women of Yankton or their website,