Posted by Jon Federman

"To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world."
-Dr. Seuss

We all know that one single person can have a transformative effect on the life of another or others. Whether through a philanthropic donation to an agency like JF&CS, or through volunteerism, one person can truly improve lives and change someone's entire world.

But what happens when that effect is multiplied by 100 people? What happens when 100 people pool their resources to make a difference in the lives of others? Together, they can become a powerful force for change. One such example is "100 Women Who Care of Needham."

Started by eight Needham residents about two years ago, 100 Women Who Care of Needham is a community philanthropic group whose theme is "the power of many." The group is the local chapter of an organization called 100+ Women Who Care that has more than 490 chapters worldwide. The organization's originator, Karen Dunigan, realized that when 100 or more people come together, each person becomes a powerful entity for doing good work and lifting up the community.

Typically, each group meets four times a year to learn about local charities and each member donates $100 to the charity selected by the group at that time. The combined donation of $10,000 makes a tremendous impact without time-consuming fundraising events or planning.

According to Susan Abraham, a JF&CS Board member who is also a member of 100 Women Who Care of Needham, each participant can nominate a charity at each quarterly meeting. Three nominations are then drawn from a hat, and each person responsible for submitting one of the three charities chosen does a short presentation or pitch about their nominated charity.

Susan, who is also on the JF&CS Center for Basic Needs Assistance (CBNA) Advisory Committee, submitted JF&CS Family Table, New England's largest kosher food pantry, as her charity in February. As luck would have it, her submission was one of the three chosen charities. "I spoke about client stories – and they really resonated with the group; they really mattered. Of course, not all the 100 women are Jewish, so I explained that JF&CS serves all families in crisis, without regard to race, religion, or ethnicity. The group [now actually consisting of 102 women] selected JF&CS as the ‘winning' charity and each woman wrote a $100 check to JF&CS, raising $10,200 for [Center for Basic Needs Assistance]."

The checks were written and collected right then and there at the February meeting and given directly to JF&CS. "The [100 Women Who Care of Needham] gives its members a great exposure to different charities," remarks Susan. "We created a great awareness of JF&CS and a lot of visibility. Now a bunch of our women have gotten involved with Family Table. One woman even brought friends to the JF&CS Women's Breakfast in June. It was great to be able to spread the word and to touch people's lives.

"JF&CS is such a great organization and everyone involved is so passionate about its mission. It does so many good things for so many people. The work JF&CS dows improves lives and helps people in need. I'm truly honored to have represented JF&CS to the 100 Women who Care of Needham."

Jon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.