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Out & About

Power of one (hundred)

Charitable group 100 Women Who Care–Fox Valley demonstrates what it means to have strength in numbers

Kane County Magazine

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he charitable organization 100 Women Who Care–Fox Valley counts new members among its ranks at seemingly every quarterly meeting.

Theoni Limouris, who founded the local chapter alongside fellow Batavia resident Karen Hollis in 2015, doesn’t hesitate when theorizing about why.

“Definitely, I think that it’s the welcoming atmosphere that we have,” Limouris says. “I mean, I always want to make sure that people that come in know that they are welcome, and they have a friend, and nobody feels like they’re alone. Because it’s hard, you know, to walk into a room with a bunch of women that you don’t know. And that’s one point that we make, is that we’re just a very friendly group of people.”

Celebrating its second year as a chapter, 100 Women Who Care–Fox Valley has donated about $70,000 to various nonprofit organizations in the greater Fox Valley region. And organizers have no plans to slow the pace of goodwill.

The organization’s first donation came in the amount of $4,000 to Mutual Ground, an Aurora center where members work to combat domestic violence and sexual abuse. Limouris says the most recent donation, to a different organization, totaled $11,000.

“The word is getting out more. The community is getting out there,” Limouris says. “Everyone is so excited when they hear about what we’re doing because the concept it’s such a simple concept, and it’s so easy, and people want to be a part of it.”

The concept does seem simple. According to its website, the mission of the group is aid in the community by finding at least 100 women to meet for 60 minutes (roughly) and contribute $100 each, four times a year, resulting in a $10,000 donation to a local charity. Each quarter, the group chooses a new nonprofit to make a donation to. Although it was built on the charity of others, the organization nonetheless has benefited from more discreet assistance, as well.

As part of its donation to an Aurora-based suicide prevention center, 100 Women Who Care published a video on its social media channels displaying footage of the donation itself.

The ritual soon became a staple each quarter, with Limouris and friends brainstorming new and creative ways to deliver donations in a surprise fashion. One video captured images of a flash mob at Geneva’s Buttermilk restaurant during peak hours.

“These are by no means professional videos,” Limouris says. “They’re very raw and very homemade. But they’ve resulted in people seeing them.”

It was a colleague who alerted the then-Aurora Mayor, Tom Weisner, to the video for the suicide prevention center, Limouris says. Shortly thereafter, Limouris’ contact at the center reported that Weisner had provided a grant that helped cover the center’s rent payments for one year.

Limouris and Hollis aim for innovation whenever possible, and have been instrumental in launching related “100” organizations for Fox Valley children and men, respectively.

In April, officials from 100 Women Who Care–Fox Valley delivered the closing keynote address at the 100 Alliance Conference in Chicago. Limouris called the distinction humbling, and a hopeful sign the organization is continuing on its mission.

“That was really cool,” Limouris says. “For a brand-new group to come in and tell them this is how we do it and close the conference and give them a lot of ideas and feedback and energy to take back to their own chapters – that was really a cool honor for us, as well.”

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