Do you remember learning the math times tables in school? Didn’t it seem like the ultimate when you could easily recall that 100 times 100 equalled 10,000? Well, a group of Markham women have used that as the basis for what has been an ultimate experience in philanthropy, with some division thrown in.

The phrase, “giving back to the community,” has taken on a new meaning for a generous group of creative women in Markham with a unique approach to charity. The organization is called is 100 Women Who Care Markham.

Here’s where the math comes in. The group holds four meetings a year. Each meeting participant is expected to donate $100 at each meeting which lasts one hour. With the goal of 100 women in attendance at each meeting, a whopping $10,000 is collected. Then the group chooses from a few different registered charity options which have been nominated by a member and evaluated beforehand. Only registered, not-for-profit and charitable organizations servicing the Markham community will be sponsored by the group. A member of the group nominates an organization for funding two weeks prior to a meeting, speaks about it to the membership for five minutes, and the attendees vote on what amount they receive if any.

100 Women Who Care Markham grew from a small handful of ambitious women and just celebrated its third anniversary with the announcement it now has more than 100 members and donated $100,000 in those three years.

Karen Dunigan of Michigan started 100 Women Who Care in November 2006, as a simple way to raise money efficiently and quickly for local charities in her community. The idea for a Markham assembly of 100 Women Who Care is the brainchild of Michelle Hale, Misti Holmes, Melissa Seguin, and Rachel Streek-Burma.

“Many women love this opportunity to get involved and give back in their own community,” said Hale. “It’s a simple concept, but very effective. It’s a very efficient process because we’re meeting in one hour start to finish.”

Added Holmes, “I had been looking for a way to get involved in the community, to make a difference, and to teach my children the importance of giving back. 100 Women Who Care allows me to accomplish those things. Plus I get to meet and work with fantastic women from around my very own community.

“The hundred thousand dollars has helped some of these charities actually survive. The need in the community is far greater than many people realize. Whether it be homelessness or abuse victims, there are many needs in our community which some see as very well off. It’s very satisfying that the members get involved beyond their donations.”

One such beneficiary is the Centre for Dreams, an organization which provides support services – life skills and vocational training for example – to adults with developmental disabilities. The executive director, Michelle Del Carmen, was thrilled to recently receive funding from 100 Women Who Care Markham.

“The funds will be used for both our programs and our accessibility upgrades,” she said. “This will help so much for the independence and dignity of our members.”

The organization is just shy of its fundraising goal this year. Those interested in donating or learning more about the services can visit

Anyone looking to find out more about 100 Women Markham can visit for details. The organization has a new mission to reach two hundred members and be even more charitable.


Photo: Michelle Del Carmen, Centre for Dreams executive director (centre of photo), was thrilled to receive funding from 100 Women Who Care Markham. Left to right: Michelle Hale, 100 Women Who Care Markham Co-founder; Rosanna Pagliaro, Centre for Dreams supporter and 100 Women member; Michelle Del Carmen, executive director The Centre for Dreams; Sian Bull, Centre for Dreams volunteer and 100 Women member Misti Holmes, 100 Women Who Care Markham Co-founder

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