Lakeshore women raise $1M for local groups

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of women on the lakeshore is making a big impact on their community by coming together to give.

The group is called Tri-Cities Women Who Care, a local chapter of a larger alliance with groups around the world.

Since everyone is busy, the group makes fundraising simple.

“It’s a simple, efficient process and it never lasts more than an hour,” said Wendy Creason, co-founder of the group.

Their caring comes in the form of giving —$100 a member —four times a year — during a one-hour-long gathering.

“These are the same women who do bake sales, car washes, the dances and the dinners. Now they go, ‘whoa $29,000 and I went for an hour,’” said Cindy Anderson, another founder of the group.

TCM Counseling in Grand Haven, which never turns anyone away, was the first nonprofit to be awarded a gift from the group.

“It was a game-changer for TCM. That money is priceless, truly. It’s lifesaving,” said Sarah Lewakowski, TCM’s executive director.

The group’s original goal was to gather 100 women from the Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg community to give $100. At the first meeting in 2010, 235 women showed up.

“Our group has literally changed the community. We have seen our effects everywhere,” said Madonna Kramer, who is on the steering committee.

Three charities or organizations are chosen during the quarterly meetings. Representatives pitch their causes, everyone votes, a winner is chosen and then everyone writes a check for $100.

“Everyone feels so empowered because maybe they’re writing a check for a hundred dollars, but they’re actually giving $30,000 to an organization,” Creason said.

On June 24, Tri-Cities became the first chapter out of 650 worldwide to hit the $ 1 million milestone.

“It’s the dream money. It’s an organization’s just a dream. If we had $29,000, we could accomplish this. And it’s transforming in our community to see the organizations really stretch and reach that one thing they didn’t think they could ever do,” Anderson said.

People can find more information about Tri-Cities Women Who Care online.

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