100 Women Peterborough raises funds for poverty organization Bridges Peterborough

Since its formation, the collective philanthropy group has donated more than $135,000 to 16 local organizations

Members of 100 Women Peterborough during their virtual meeting on March 15, 2022, when they selected Bridges Peterborough as the recipient of donations from members of the collective philanthropy group. Also pictured ar Bridges Peterborough co-founder Lynn Smith-Reeve (second row, right) and bridging team facilitator-in-training Rebecca Turland (second row, right). (Photo courtesy of 100 Women Peterborough)
Members of 100 Women Peterborough during their virtual meeting on March 15, 2022, when they selected Bridges Peterborough as the recipient of donations from members of the collective philanthropy group. Also pictured ar Bridges Peterborough co-founder Lynn Smith-Reeve (second row, right) and bridging team facilitator-in-training Rebecca Turland (second row, right). (Photo courtesy of 100 Women Peterborough)

At its first virtual meeting this year, 100 Women Peterborough has chosen Bridges Peterborough as the organization that will receive what is expected to be close to $10,000 in donations.

A collective philanthropy group, 100 Women Peterborough met on Zoom on Tuesday (March 15) to raise funds for an organization in need. Prior to the pandemic, the group met in person four times a year, with each of the members committing to donate $100 at each meeting. The group has been meeting virtually during the pandemic, with attendance at meetings optional in recognition of the financial impact of the pandemic on some members.

Whether meeting in person or virtually, the group hears presentations from three organizations randomly drawn from a larger list of organizations nominated by the group’s members. The organization receiving the most votes from members receives the donations contributed by the group’s members.

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The three organizations that presented to 100 Women Peterborough at Tuesday’s virtual meeting were Bridges Peterborough, Camp Kawartha, and Teachers for Kids Charity, with Bridges Peterborough chosen by majority vote to receive the funds.

Growing out of the faith-based Bedford House Community Ministry founded by Lynn and Allan Smith-Reeve, Bridges Peterborough is working to challenge the prevailing ways of addressing poverty. The organization responds to rising levels of poverty, increasing precarity in employment, rising opioid addictions, and lack in housing that is affordable.

Over the past five years, Bridges Peterborough has developed bridging teams, a small-group experience where under-resourced participants known as “catalysts” develop strategies with middle-income mentors to build a more stable life. The organization also formed The Company of Conversation Changers, a group of consultants with lived experience in poverty who provide advice and support to help facilite the bridging team process.

VIDEO: Bridges Peterborough’s Bridging Team Company of Conversation Changers Project

The donation from 100 Women Peterborough will directly fund the bridging teams program.

“Being part of a bridging team has given me a sense of community,” says Rebecca Turland, who presented during the meeting for her work in The Company of Conversation Changers. “My self-worth has improved and I’m earning a living wage which has eliminated the burden of debt I was carrying.”

100 Women Peterborough was founded in February 2018 by Rosalea Terry, Catia Skinner, Wendy Hill, and Alyssa Stewart, who were inspired by similar groups in other communities.

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“As our first meeting falls just after International Women’s Day, we are reminded that the work that our group does to empower women in our community to make change is more important than ever,” Terry says.

“Women are known for being passionate about the causes that they support and the charities that come to present often walk away with much more than just the money that is donated,” she adds. “They now have an army of incredible women spreading information about their organization through their networks. It is powerful.”

The collective philanthropy movement began in the United States in November 2006, when Karen Dunigan of Michigan formed the “100 Women Who Care” group. After their first meeting, the women raised over $10,000 for the purchase of 300 new baby cribs for a local organization.

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The movement has grown over the past 16 years to include groups of men, women, youth, and children around the world, with more than 210 chapters in Canada alone.

Since its formation, 100 Women Peterborough has collectively donated more than $135,000 to 16 local organizations: Hospice Peterborough, Peterborough Youth Unlimited, One Roof Warming Room, New Canadians Centre, Cameron House, Five Counties Children’s Centre, Casa De Angelae, Lakefield Animal Welfare Society, Community Care Peterborough, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, Community Counselling and Resource Centre, Peterborough Pregnancy Support Services, Heads Up for Inclusion, Kawartha Youth Orchestra, Peterborough GreenUP, and Bridges Peterborough.

Women interested in joining 100 Women Peterborough should visit www.100womenptbo.ca for more information.