The premise is simple: Gather 100 men to commit $100 four times a year and redistribute the $10,000 quarterly to local nonprofits that could use the money to further their mission.
Alex Douglas has created this concept, which he calls WG100, and is looking to complete his membership roster of 100 men prior to the kickoff meeting March 7. He already has 35 people who believe in his idea and have joined the nonprofit organization. Douglas said the group is in the process of getting its 501c3 status.
Nonprofits seeking funding must either operate in Winter Garden or include the Winter Garden community in its service area. An application is available on the website.
For the first meeting, Douglas invited representatives from Eight Waves, Lift Disability Network and Central Florida Diaper Bank to speak. All three groups were eager to vie for the funds.
“I’m hoping after we have a successful meeting (to) put out an open call to nonprofits — and hopefully have a bunch that we pick them at random,” Douglas said.
Once a quarter, three organizations will be chosen randomly to make a presentation to WG100 members about their nonprofit and how they would use the donation to make a greater positive impact on the community. Douglas will meet with them to learn more about the organization and to help them prepare. This is completely within his wheelhouse, since he has made a career out of helping nonprofits as a fundraising consultant.
“It will be a quick presentation, five to 10 minutes,” Douglas said. “Just present what you’re all about. Yes, you’re presenting to win the award, but you’re also presenting to 100 people who could get involved and volunteer.”
Each of the 100 members will vote on which organization will receive the top prize of $8,000. The other two presenters will each get $1,000. The funds are presented that same evening.
Douglas said members who voted for the second and third organizations will have an opportunity to individually donate to them through WG100.
Douglas’ organization serves another purpose, and that is to gather men who can help each other professionally and through building networks and support.
“I know several of our members who have joined are already looking at, throughout the year, how (to) help,” he said. “Maybe a fundraising dinner. … I’m excited to see what comes out of this collaboration. That awareness piece is huge to me, and then the collaboration and the financial as well.
DISCOVERING A NEED
Douglas grew up in the area and moved back to Winter Garden with his wife, Jessie, and three daughters, ages 4, 3 and 1, last May. He said giving back to his community always has been important to him — and is even more so now that he has a family. He and Jessie took the girls to several local community organizations during the holidays to show them there’s more to Christmas than gifts and excitement.
What he found out is there are folks who don’t know which service organizations are in their community.
“I think there’s a huge opportunity to raise awareness,” Douglas said. “I think probably the most important piece is going to be education and awareness.”
His goal is to connect the nonprofits and their resources.
“I would love to collect a great list through WG100,” he said. “‘Here’s a list of nonprofits and what they offer and how to donate’ … and let them collaborate with each other.”
His goal is for the local nonprofit organizations to make the most of what they can offer to the community and to each other and see how everyone can work together.
“Our community of Winter Garden is a very unique one, and something like this can really do a lot of good,” Douglas said. “I think there’s a lot of desire to help, and it’s just directing that and making it work together as we help the community