Like most "disruptive" new ideas, at first the "100 Who Care" movement -- if it can be called that -- seems marvellously simple.
There's a good cause in your community. It needs a dose of cash. Call a few friends, who call a few friends, you get the idea. All get together and each writes a cheque directly to the worthy cause and BAM!
That's what a woman named Karen Dunigan did.
The first 100 Women Who Care group was formed in November 2006 by Karen Dunigan of Jackson, Michigan, USA. At their first one-hour meeting, the Jackson 100 Women Who Care group raised $10,000 to buy 300 new baby cribs for an organization in their city! Their membership has now grown to nearly 300 members and many other cities across the United States and Canada have formed groups as well.
Indeed, now there's an alliance of these 350 loose groups.
While it started with women, now there are men who care, kids who care, and people who care groups.
Here is an account from the Star on 100 Women Who Care Toronto.
In describing the meeting, the writer says: "Think Dragon’s Den meets crowdfunding."
Local charities -- they must be registered charities for the tax receipts -- are nominated by members. Three charities are chosen at random to make their pitch to the assembled group. They vote, one is chosen, and they all whip out cheque books and BAM! $10,000 (or $100 times the number of members) is raised.
Direct, efficient, laudable.
But there's a problem. We call it the uberization of charitable giving.
By cutting out vetting, oversight, and ethical guidelines, and relying solely on the charities' pitches -- and their government-sanctioned charitable status -- these groups may achieve efficiency at the cost of responsibility and accountability.
I'm sure everyone walks out feeling great, but do they all know exactly what they're supporting?
We have identified five fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres, who have benefitted from these groups.
We reported a few days ago on 100 Guys Who Share - Yarmouth County who donated $11,600 to the Tri-County Pregnancy Care Centre.
Since then, we've found four more.
Women Who Care Norfolk were persuaded by a fake-clinic pitch. (Look how the work is described.)
Outstanding! The Norfolk Pregnancy Centre will receive $14,600 to purchase additional programming material and expand their services into Delhi. This organization provides leadership, guidance and support to young women and men as they embark on a new phase of life. Professional volunteers are available to offer assistance on an as needed basis.[I wonder what a "professional volunteer" is.]
Women Who Care Stouffville chose the Markham/Stouffvillle Crisis Pregnancy Centre for a windfall gift.
Sunrise Pregnancy Centre was the recipient of a donation from Women Who Care Uxbridge
And Women Who Care Ottawa picked First Place Options, also the choice of the ill-fated fundraiser by the wives and girlfriends of the Ottawa Senators.
Given that Canada is overwhelmingly pro-choice, we have to question whether all these good, generous people understood that their hard-earned dough was going to anti-choice, anti-contraceptive, religious gangs who lie to and manipulate pregnant people out of choosing abortion as a response to a "crisis pregnancy."
Revisiting the Ottawa Senators' schmozzle, under the title Donor Beware, we pointed out that people need to check out what their money is supporting.
And the other important take-away is WHY THE HELL DO THESE FAKE CLINICS HAVE CHARITABLE STATUS AT ALL?
Most people see a charitable registration number and think "OK, fine. This group has been checked out by the government. It is accountable to the Canada Revenue Agency, who monitors its activities and finances."
And they write their cheques (under a bit of group pressure perhaps).
Maybe they all did know exactly what they were supporting. Great.
But we seriously doubt it.
ADDED (October 27/16): I wrote to the 100 Women Who Care groups in Norfolk, Stouffville, Uxbridge, and Ottawa to ask about their pre-pitch vetting. The email to Norfolk came zinging back with a fatal error. We wait on the others. I'll report.
UPDATE (October 31/16): 100 Women in Ottawa kindly replied with some more information. I want to wait a bit longer to see if any of the others do too.