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      New giving initiative inspires formation of Midland 100 Club

      MIDLAND, MICHIGAN - The beauty of the idea is its simplicity, said Midland resident Bobbie Arnold. She was referring to an initiative in which women committed to giving $100 three times a year to a worthy cause. The simple rules, adapted to Midland, are: members submit the names of local non-profits; three names are drawn; the members who submitted the names speak to their merits; a vote is taken and the non-profit with the highest number of votes receives the gift. Everyone who is part of the group gives, whether or not the non-profit was their choice.

      Arnold explained these guidelines at the organizational meeting of the Midland 100 Club last spring. The group of 35 women present at the first meeting has now grown to over 100.

      A few weeks ago at a lunch meeting in Emerson Park, members drew names of organizations from those submitted by members.

      Three were drawn and representatives spoke about the needs of each, explained Arnold. We tallied the votes and the recipient was the Mammography Fund at the Center for Women TMs Health at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland. This is a wonderful choice for our first donation. Women who are unable to afford this screening will have the benefit of this potentially life-saving procedure.

      A Simple Way to Help

      The response to the formation of the Midland 100 Club has been phenomenal, says Arnold. Women were looking for a way to help others that did not require laborious meetings, time and paperwork. There has been overwhelming support for the simplicity of this approach.

      Arnold communicates with members by e-mail, so there is no postage or organizational costs, and members write checks directly to the charity, so record keeping is minimal.

      Arnold delivered more than 85 checks, each for $100, to Carole Calvert-Baxter, director of the Center for Women TMs Health at MidMichgian Medical Center-Midland. The Center for Women TMs Health will acknowledge the gifts to each donor to provide a record for tax purposes.

      Our next meeting will be in January, said Arnold, and we will go through the whole process again. We look forward to seeing current members and to welcoming new members.

      Arnold is not new to philanthropy. She is the president and CEO of The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, established in 1957 by the late Charles J. Strosacker, one of the pioneers of The Dow Chemical Company. Arnold says that working on behalf of the foundation inspires her, but there are many needs that cannot be satisfied by the Midland area foundations alone, and that need led to the Midland 100 Club.

      We found a simple way to let others help. Not a lot of money; not a lot of time. But the effect of three gifts a year multiplied by the number of members will, in time, grow to become truly significant.

      Those interested in being part of the Midland 100 Club may contact Arnold at