Area women’s charitable group makes its first ‘big give’ - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Area women’s charitable group makes its first ‘big give’

August 23rd, 2018 development
Area women’s charitable group makes its first ‘big give’



A group of kind-hearted women who have banded together to make an impact with their charitable giving made their first “big give” recently.

The East Valley chapter of 100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun presented a check for $6,000 to Oakwood Creative Care, a Mesa nonprofit.

100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun is based on a simple mathematical principle.

While gratefully accepted, a $100 donation to a charity doesn’t do much these days. But multiply that figure by 100 or more and you’re talking about having a serious impact on that charity’s mission.

That is the essence of the growing philanthropic organization.

Only women are allowed in the group and those who attend a meeting should be prepared for a friendly gathering run with the precision of a military marching band.

“It’s an exercise in awesome efficiency,” said Kim Tarnopolski, who founded a Ahwatukee-based chapter several years ago and helped start the East Valley chapter for women in Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa.

“It has become more challenging than ever to do all of the things we want to do, including giving back,” said Jenn Kaye, who serves on the executive team of 100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun. “Together we create a network of support with the power to truly help others, make a bigger impact and leave a lasting legacy throughout the Valley.”

The next meeting of the East Valley Chapter of 100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun is 6:30 pm Aug. 23 at The Forum, 2301 S. Stearman Drive, Chandler. Guests are welcome and may register at

After an hour of socializing, 6:30 p.m. marks the start of a meeting that moves according to straightforward and exact rules that eliminate backdoor lobbying and favoritism in the group’s selection of a beneficiary.

First, everybody who attends brings a check for $100 with the payee line left blank. Over the next hour, the names of three charities are pulled from a hat.

Everyone who attends has a chance to nominate a charity, but they need to be there if their candidate’s name is pulled and be prepared to give a five-minute presentation about the group without the help of PowerPoint or any other props.

And they must have submitted the name to a committee at least two weeks before the meeting so the nominees can be vetted. That process is designed to ensure that the charity is a registered nonprofit, has been active at least three years, can provide charitable tax receipts to the donors, and meet a number of other requirements laid out on the group’s website.

During the meeting, members can ask the presenter questions. After the three presentations are completed, the group votes. Whoever gets the most votes wins those checks.

The recipient of that largesse attends the next quarterly meeting to discuss how “Big Give” was used.

Sherri Friend, president/CEO of Oakwood Creative Care, said her group “will utilize the funds raised by 100+ Women Who Care Valley of the Sun to purchase much needed program supplies and fifty music therapy sessions.

“Our work is not covered by the traditional revenue streams, so this gift allows us to fulfill our mission to enhance the mind, body and spirit of adults with cognitive and physical impairments,” she added.

Oakwood Creative Care, formerly known as Sirrine Adult Day Care, was formed over 40 years ago in an effort to provide an alternative to costly in-home and institutional care for adults.  The goal was to create a place that would allow seniors to remain in their homes but stay connected to their community.

In 2013, the concept was rebranded with the new name of Oakwood Creative Care and a specialized focus on dementia care.

“This rebranding, based on the qualities of an oak tree, reflects the deep roots in the community, the wisdom of the people they are honored to serve, and the strength it takes to care for someone,” said LeAnn Landberg, a member of the 100+ Women chapter. “The goal is to eliminate isolation, boredom and care partner burnout.”

OCC offers clubs which are commonly known throughout the industry as adult day health services.

“The goal is to radically change the way care is provided to the club members and help reverse the mindset of keeping these individuals locked in a facility,” Landberg said. “The clubs offer a variety of programs and therapies focused on treating the mind, body and spirit such as cognitive engagement, music, arts, fitness classes, gardening and much more.

“Forget the days of bingo, television watching and silly sing-alongs. These clubs take a whole new approach and promote critical thinking and increased memory retention. OCC has spent years studying dementia research and have found the creative center of the brain is not attacked by the disease. Their programs and activities are designed around this knowledge.”

Landberg said “it’s not uncommon to hear laughter and singing coming through the doors.”

“The members like to think of OCC as a place to hang out with their friends, be artistic, remember the old times, sing and laugh,” she said. “The members are filled with joy and it is evident they enjoy being there. Every now and then, you may also see Jorge, the therapy pig, who joins in the fun with the staff and members.

“Members also have regular interaction with children, babies and dogs,” she added. “OCC believes aging should not stop someone from having purpose, meaning and a place to belong.

Aside from monetary donations, OCC welcomes art donations of every kind.

Members’ works are displayed and sold during the holidays at art/craft fairs around the Valley.

OCC is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Club members are welcome to attend for a few hours or the full day.

The staff includes two full-time on-site nurses and showers are available. Occasionally, the members are offered a spa day to promote relaxation and self-care.