Local groups providing much-needed funds for nonprofits

  • Welding at MAxT Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Cathedral of the Pines Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, January 21, 2019 7:35PM

Matt Cabana saw the kind of impact 100+ Women Who Care Monadnock was having on the community.

Every three months, the women’s group, which has more than 240 members and includes his wife, would hold a quarterly meeting where the group selected an area nonprofit to receive a donation. But there was no fundraising involved for members. Rather each woman would write a check for at least $50 for the chosen organization, and at their last meeting in October, 100+ Women awarded $12,770 to SKIP (School Kids in Peterborough).

With such a sizeable donation being made every three months to a nonprofit in the Monadnock Region, Cabana couldn’t help but think there was room for another group to provide a similar service. After all, Cabana said, there are plenty of worthy organizations in the area that are in need, and only four were being chosen each year to receive funds from the women. Two years ago he tried to organize a men’s group with a matching focus. It never really gained any steam.

But Cabana wasn’t about to give up, so he connected with the right people and helped found Monadnock Men On A Mission, which held its first meeting in June. After its third meeting last month, where they donated more than $4,000 to three charities, with ConVal School District’s End 68 Hours of Hunger getting the bulk of the funds, Monadnock Men On A Mission had 45 members in attendance and Cabana sees that number growing – and fast.

“The goal is 100, and the goal is to get there within a year or two,” Cabana said. “Based on the December meeting and the feedback we’ve gotten, I think the March meeting is going to be our launching pad.”

There are a lot of similarities with the two groups. Both make their donations using member money, four times a year, and leave the decision of which organization is chosen to a vote from its membership at the quarterly meetings.

“The reason for me was that I was watching what (100+ Women) were doing and seeing so many groups coming to them in need of financial help,” Cabana said. “You’re investing in your community and helping out the people in your community.”

While the women select just one nonprofit to receive their funds every four months, the men give to each of the three presenters at each meeting.

“We think it’s more impactful to keep it one large donation,” said Karen Hatcher, a member for the 100+ Women steering committee. “But members can also write a check to any of the other organizations if they want and we actually encourage it.”

On Thursday at 6 p.m., 100+ Women will meet in the Lucy Hurlin Theatre at ConVal High School to select the next recipient. After receiving 18 nominations for the first meeting of 2019, the pool was narrowed down to six thanks to the children at SKIP. The last group to receive a donation will help randomly select six names from the group’s ceremonial hat box. All six nominees, which are Monadnock Art/Friends of Dublin Art, Cathedral of the Pines, The Launch Point afterschool program at Monadnock Christian Ministries, The 1833 Society (Peterborough Town Library), Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter and MAxT Makerspace, will go to the meeting, where the final three will be selected – once again blindly chosen with the use of the hat box.

“It’s completely random and we want to keep it that way,” Hatcher said. “It’s all very transparent.”

The top three will each give a five-minute presentation, followed by a five-minute question and answer session with members. From there, those in attendance will vote for the one to receive the money.

“We know that with these groups, the funds will be used here,” Hatcher said. “And for them, it's a five-minute presentation and five minutes of questions for a possibility at the funds. It’s a no brainer for them.”

The men, who have seven nominations for its next meeting on March 7 at Hilltop Golf Course in Peterborough, do it a little different. For the first three meetings, three organizations were hand selected to present. But for March, they are hosting a survey on their Facebook page and asking for votes to determine the top three from the group that includes Shelter from the Storm, Plow Share Farm, The Grapevine, Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, Got Lunch, Monadnock 4-H Robotics Club, and Community Volunteer Transportation Company. The meeting format is the same with each giving presentations and going through a question and answer process before putting the vote to the members. But unlike their female counterparts, each one of the presenters will receive funds.

“My feeling has been that they put tremendous effort into these presentations, they should walk away with something,” Cabana said.

And since the groups meet in different months, area nonprofits are receiving money eight times a year.

“Every couple months there’s an influx of cash going to a needy organization in the Monadnock Region,” Cabana said. “And for us, we want to know if we give groups this money, who’s going to help the most people. How’s it going to do the most good for a large group of people. We want to make the greatest impact.”

The minimum donation for members of both groups is $50, but many give more than what’s just required.

The women have surpassed its membership goals by leaps and bounds when they started out more than five years ago, and even have been the launching point for other groups in the state. The men, just over six months in, are starting to gain some traction, as they now have seven members on their steering committee and are looking for ambassadors for each town the group serves.

The whole goal of these groups is to help the most amount of people who call this area home. The women have donated funds surpassing $170,000 since organizing more than five years ago, and the men are striving to make that kind of impact. Both groups are open to new members and the process is very easy.

“If it wasn’t for them doing what they’ve been doing the last number of years, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing,” Cabana said.

For more about Monadnock Men On A Mission, search the group’s name on Facebook or email monadnockmen@gmail.com. For 100+ Women, visit facebook.com/100womenwhocaremonadnock or 100womenwhocaremonadnock.com.