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Women philanthropists harness the power of 100


Last updated 10/9/2019 at 2:43pm | View PDF

One newly formed organization is harnessing the power of 100 women philanthropists in one room, for one hour, to create a fierce fundraising powerhouse in our community.

In 2017, Western Springs resident Caitlin McNeily founded 100 Women Who Give a Damn after her husband Mike founded the organization's male counterpart in Chicago. The committee, at the time comprising of 15 local women, came together to raise nearly $13,000 for Share our Spare, a local nonprofit that provides baby items to families in need.

Since its inaugural meeting, "100 Women Who Give a Damn" has been hosting events twice a year, in the spring and fall, to give back to organizations close to their hearts and homes. And with just six events under its belt, the group has raised almost $60,000 for local charities.

"The goal is to always raise $10,000 in less than one hour," committee member Sheila McNaughton said. "We know our audience lives busy lives during the week, but we want to make the point that great things can happen even if you only are able to give one hour. Come from soccer carpool, hop off the train from work. Whatever you have going on, we say, 'Be casual, bring a friend, have some wine, learn about some amazing local organizations.' "

This year's fall fundraising event will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Western Springs Village Club.

At each event, representatives from three local charities give short presentations about their organizations. The members then vote for the cause that interests them the most. The charity with the most votes is awarded a $100 donation from every woman in attendance. McNaughton added that since the organization has grown, members have been able to secure sponsors who generously write donations to the event's runner up charities.

The organization's first fundraising recipient, Share our Spare, used funds to provide vital supplies for new parents struggling to afford basics like formula, diapers and blankets. At a subsequent event, 100 Women awarded the Danny Did Foundation with close to $10,000 for seizure detection machines. According to McNaughton, a local mother in La Grange benefited from such a machine after her daughter experienced life-threatening seizures at night. Event funds went towards the purchase of nine additional machines for those in need.

"These organizations are in our own backyard. ... In a day and age with so much polarization and divisiveness, it is not only refreshing for the soul but a reminder that we are a village, and there is much good happening all around us," McNaughton said. "This (group) is a chance to make a tangible difference in our community, surrounded by like-minded friends and neighbors."

To learn more about joining 100 Women Who Give a Damn, visit

Community buzz

Assistance League Chicagoland West's 23rd annual Books & Brunch charity luncheon will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov 12, at The Abbington in Glen Ellyn.

The event will feature three unique authors who will speak about their life and work. The event also will feature a shopping boutique, silent auction and raffles.

This year, Hinsdale resident Eileen Meyer will discuss her life as a children's writer. Meyer's latest book, "The Superlative A. Lincoln," slated to hit shelves Nov. 5, consists of light-hearted poems that describe the life of the 16th president.

To purchase tickets, which are $90 per person, please visit

- Alexis Braden of Hinsdale is the paper's society columnist. Readers can email her at

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