100 Women giving back quite a lot to area nonprofits

When Karen Vrdolyak attended last fall's 100 Women Who Give a Damn fundraiser in Western Springs, she was unsure that her organization, the Harvey-based Restoration Ministries' Tabitha House, would be selected. Two other nonprofits were also presenting that night to the group of 100 women philanthropists and she knew that the topic of addiction wasn't warm and fuzzy.

She did know that the Tabitha House graduate selected to present on the organization's behalf - a recovering alcoholic and mother to two teenage children - would help compel the women to vote for Tabitha House, a safe haven for women seeking to overcome addiction. The speaker had five minutes to share how her life was turned around through programming and counseling.

Vrdolyak, vice president of development and administration for Restoration Ministries, waited with her colleagues upstairs at the Village Club of Western Springs while the other two charities presented. When she came downstairs, she saw that they had won. Tabitha House's jar was filled with the most votes.

"When you get older, you don't really have those surprises in life," said Vrdolyak, reflecting on Tabitha House winning the 100 Women Who Give a Damn's one-time donation of more than $13,000. "We were jumping up and down, cheering and crying when we won. It really changed our organization and (through this funding) we were able to bring on a part-time psychologist to work with the women to help change their lives."

This year, three more deserving and inspirational nonprofits have been nominated and voted into the finals, with presentations set for the 100 Women Who Give a Damn virtual fall event at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, via Zoom.

According to Hinsdale's Ashley Logan, founding board member of 100 Women Who Give a Damn, the organization solicited nominations from nonprofits throughout the western suburbs. Sixteen charities were nominated and more than 900 people voted to select the final three nonprofits to present at the fall fundraiser: Beds Plus, Chicago Hopes for Kids and the La Grange Area Department of Special Education.

"We ask for local nonprofits who can truly benefit from a donation of $10,000," said Logan. "What we love about the organizations that were selected is that they serve the western suburbs in a variety of different capacities and are so relevant for the time we are living in right now. We know that the presentations from these incredible organizations will resonate with those who attend the virtual event."

Logan is hopeful that 100 or so women will attend the virtual event and that each will make a $100 contribution to one, or more, of the organizations that present, as they have done in years past.

"The whole thing should take 30 minutes," Logan added. "We understand that many of our attendees are moms trying to balance e-learning, parenting, jobs, COVID and more. We wanted it to be simple and easy to make a difference. It's truly about as low-key as it comes for giving back!"

To register for 100 Women Who Give a Damn's fall fundraiser, which is free and open to the public, please visit https://www.100womenwhogiveadamn.com.

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