The 100 Alliance Cochrane chapters have seen significant growth in membership this year and have collected close to $40, 000 or more collectively in the past year.
The chapters are divided into three groups, 100 Men Who Give a Damn, 100 Women Who Care and 100 Kids who Care.
The groups are dedicated to raising money for a different charity or non-profit on a quarterly basis.
Within both the men’s and women’s chapters, members meet every four months at Killarney’s to nominate and then vote on which charities to support.
The member whose charity wins the vote gives a short presentation on the organization including what the work is, how much volunteering is done, what the budget looks like and how they spend their money.
“That’s part of the fun of it, you’re learning about different charities as you dig into it a bit yourself,” said Tim Carlson, the co-founder of the men’s chapter.
Carlson started the group about a year and a half after the women’s chapter, inspired by a sermon he heard by his pastor at the Cochrane Alliance Church.
“It’s a pretty easy non-profit thing to run,” Carlson said. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have to do much at all except get the word out.”
This year, the men’s chapter donated to Cochrane Women’s Emergency Shelter, Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre, Vaughn Sawchuk Foundation and Cochrane Search and Rescue.
With around 30 members donating $100 each meeting, the group averaged about $3,000 or more per meeting.
The women’s chapter, who have been running about a year longer than the men’s and have a larger membership, have raised over $28,000 this year. The charities and non-profits they donated to this year include to Cochrane Army Cadets Vimy Ridge trip, William Watson Lodge, Rocky View Schools Food for Thought program and Helping Hands Society for Cochrane.
Meanwhile, 100 Kids Who Care, which started in November 2016, did a combination of fundraising and charitable acts. Unlike the men and women’s groups, there is not set donation rate per meeting, instead the children are encouraged to help out a neighbour or a relative to earn a small amount such as $10 to donate.
“We really instil (helping out) not only in their community but smaller communites like in your home or school or group of friends,” said Lori Toma who helps run both the women’s and kids’ chapters. “We’re trying to instil those values that parents are trying to instil.”
So far, 100 Kids Who Care, who meet at Three Beasts indoor playground, have donated to the Cochrane and Area Humane Society and have helped with food and toy drives the Food Bank and Helping Hands.