A charity in BC is getting flack for being male-exclusive – while organizers say they were formed only after a similar women’s only group got started.
Chris Wills, the co-founder of “100 Men That Give A Damn” in Kelowna, spoke to Shane Foxman earlier today.
Wills says they were inspired by a women’s group in the community, called “100 Women That Care.”
“They’ve been in business for a couple of years now, so they had a number of events prior to us being started. We were inspired by them. We have a great relationship with the founder and really look to her for a lot of input.”
100 Men That Give A Damn
On their website, the group is billed as “A bunch of guys who care enough about our community to want to make a big impact.”
Wills says the group meets quarterly, with each member agreeing to write a $100 check once a quarter, which will be donated straight to local charities.
“At the events, we randomly pull three charities…so these charities come to the events, the members don’t know about them. We announce them the day of the event, and they get to come up for five minutes, pitch about the great work that they do in the community. And at the end of the event, all members vote. The charity with the most tally’s gets paid the $100 cheques immediately.”
Last August, the group raised $20 000 for The Canadian Mental Health Association, and in November donated $25 000 for The Clubhouse Farm.
Are gender-exclusive groups sexist?
From Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s infamous “because it’s 2015 speech”, to the Buffalo Bills recently hiring the NFL’s first full-time female assistant – It seems like women have been making leaps and bounds when it comes to breaking down barriers in traditionally “boys only clubs.”
But critics of “100 Men Who Give a Damn” say they are concerned these meetings come off primarily as a networking event that excludes women.
Wills says he isn’t sure where the criticism started.
“This word ‘networking’ really seemed to play on an angle. Our focus, as organizers for this event is: We have a commitment to these members…where at the event we jam pack these three charities, so we are in and out. We do open doors a bit early so we can track members…and see how much money is brought in…and we also offer a cash bar. We quite frankly don’t understand the networking angle.”
But since the criticism started, Wills says he has been receiving a lot of positive feedback from the community.
“90% of that is actually from women. Just saying ‘Come on. These guys are getting together, they’re taking time out of their day to do something really good and impactful for the community.’ “
Listeners to the show had plenty to say.
“There’s nothing wrong…there’s plenty of women only groups out there. There’s nothing wrong with having an all men’s group, especially that they’re doing something positive.”
“I’m a feminist, and I’m not a man hater. I don’t have an issue at all with this club, I think it’s fantastic!”
What do you think? In the year 2016, is it time to finally do away with gender-exclusive group?