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Local organization inspires collective change

Community: 100+ Who Care
By Angie Helvey, Contributing Writer

Many people want to make a lasting impact on their community but are unsure how. It can seem that one person’s contribution doesn’t mean much. At least that’s how Vanessa Zimmerman felt before founding the Clackamas County chapter of the 100+ Who Care Alliance last year. The program is a testament to the power of collective action with the goal of uniting a group of 100 or more individuals, each contributing $100 twice a year. This collective effort results in a donation of $10,000 to a local non-profit organization. At their last semi-annual event, the chapter raised a staggering $11,900! Now that’s a lasting impact.

A mortgage broker by trade, Vanessa entered the real estate business to help people. However, as the market shifted and rates began rising, she couldn’t help as much or as many, so she started looking for another way to make a difference. “It’s important to me to leave a legacy of positivity and generosity,” explains Vanessa. “I came across this program through my colleagues and it was the perfect opportunity.” Though it’s nationwide, there are no templates or instructions, so Vanessa started from scratch with just a website and a Facebook page. She quickly found others who wanted to get involved. Her current committee, without whom none of this would be possible, includes Lori Arrigotti, Amy Baez, Brooke Toma, Kerrie Oliver and Brittney Hopping.

The twice-yearly events take place on the fourth Thursdays in April and October. Local non-profit organizations can apply or are nominated by members; three are randomly drawn from a hat to participate. It’s always a magical night. “When you get that many people in a room who are all excited and eager to improve our community, it creates such an incredible energy,” Vanessa says. Members are not required to be present, but they must drop off their $100 check or get it to one of the six committee members before the event.

Held in the Antonio Ballroom above Backstop Bar & Grill, the event begins as a social with a no-host bar where the three nominated non-profits are invited to set up booths and educate members on what they do. The program starts with the previous winner sharing with the group how they were able to use the donated funds to make an impact in the community. After the three nominated nonprofits speak, a vote is taken, and a winner is chosen! The $10,000 is presented on a gigantic check.

The Clackamas County chapter of 100+ Who Care recently turned one year old, and the impact it’s already had is astonishing. “For our first couple of events, we weren’t sure what to expect or how many people would show up,” explains Vanessa. “It’s consistently exceeding the $10,000 goal, so this year our committee decided anything raised above and beyond that amount will be split between the remaining nonprofits.” The organizations also have donation buckets on their table, and at the first event, they raised another $1400 for the two non-profits that didn’t win. This April’s winner was Parenting with Intent; they work with youth and families to build solid connections and provide helpful resources.


The program continues to grow, and Vanessa is excited to see where it goes from here. Members are encouraged to bring their friends and family to events and anyone, regardless of membership status or connections to the group, is welcome to come and watch. “It’s great to hear how the nonprofits utilize the funds, and we want to share that impact with the community,” says Vanessa. “There’s no pressure to join; we’re just grateful for people coming to see what we’re all about.”

100+ Who Care Clackamas County will hold its next event on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.100pluswhocare.com, or contact Vanessa at 503-459-8065 or 100pluswhocare@gmail.com.