Rotary Club honors 100 Women of Westerville with Courtright Award

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
100 Women of Westerville last met in person Oct. 18, 2020.  The group holds four quarterly meetings the second Tuesday of each meeting month. The next meeting via Zoom will be July 13.

100 Women of Westerville, a giving circle that supports community organizations, has been honored by the Rotary Club of Westerville.

The Rotary honored 100 Women of Westerville as the 45th annual A. Monroe Courtright Volunteer Service Award winner during an April 8 Zoom meeting.

100 Women of Westerville was cofounded by Westerville women Katie Coakley and Tania Peterson about six years ago.

The Westerville group is a giving circle with a shared goal of helping strengthen and enrich Westerville and the surrounding areas, according to its website: 100womenwesterville.com.

“We were honored to receive the Courtright Award,” said Coakley, who accepted the award on behalf of the organization. 

John Oleyar, Courtright Award committee chairman, said the service award was created to recognize local people and organizations who exemplify the Rotary motto of "service above self" by quietly performing years of community service without personal benefit.

“Understanding the genesis of this award makes it even more meaningful that our organization was chosen as the recipient,” Coakley said. “Tania and I founded the organization six years ago in July, and in that time, 100 WoW has raised $84,000 for community organizations.”

She said the strength of the organization is the simplicity of the model. 

“We have members participate at a financial level that they are comfortable with ($25, $50, $100 or $250), and they are able to nominate a cause that pulls on their heartstrings,” Coakley said. “This has been a great way for members to learn about organizations and causes they may not have been familiar with. 

“Even when an organization does not win the financial contribution from 100 WoW, our members will follow up with individual donations or donations of time and talent.”

Lisa Janszen, who nominated 100 WoW for the award, said Oleyar had brought the group to her attention.

“I wanted to find a way for people to see Rotary in the community – not just a group of people that meet together once a week. I formed a team of three other Rotarians to join the group with me,” Janszen said. “We went to Meza Wine for a meeting and were immediately hooked. People nominated causes that they were passionate about by writing the name of the cause on a slip of paper. The papers were collected, and three were selected from a basket.”

Katie Coakley and Tania Peterson are shown celebrating an anniversary of cofounding 100 Women of Westerville, a giving circle that supports community organizations.

She said the three people who nominated each cause went to the front of the room and talked about whom they had nominated.   

“Then we all voted by writing our choice on another slip of paper,” Janszen said. “I couldn’t believe how easy it all was. I also liked that if your cause was selected, you not only spoke about it, but you (also) answered questions that were asked by the group. This highlighted that people really knew why they nominated their cause. Katie and Tania do a fantastic job.”

Janszen said she has been on many committees, and 100 Women is effective and simple. 

“I can’t believe how much money they have quietly raised over the years that benefits such a variety of community needs,” she said.

Coakley said the group always is ready to welcome new members who have an interest in supporting charities and nonprofits in Westerville.

“Tania and I both feel thankful to be part of such a wonderful group of women that truly care about our community,” she said. “It has been such a privilege to see the group grow and pivot to continue to raise funds for local causes.” 

The Courtright award dates back to 1977. The award honors the memory of Courtright, late editor of Westerville's The Public Opinion newspaper. he died while serving as president of the Westerville Rotary.

Courtright was known for his strong support of Westerville and his strong opinions, expressed weekly in a front-page column titled, “You May Quote Us as Saying.”

Oleyar said the most important purpose of the award is to encourage a tradition of community service, and the hope is that others will be inspired by example and choose to follow a similar path.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla