Women in Roberts and Hammond, as well as surrounding areas, have a new way to give back to their communities through a newly formed Power of 100 Women program.

"The Power of 100 Women: Hammond / Roberts, is an organization that brings together women from all walks of life to support local nonprofits. By harnessing the power of women coming together, we can have a much greater impact than we could individually," said board member Nicki O'Connell.

The group's mission, according to O'Connell, is to engage in giving and serving to make the world around them better. River Falls and Hudson both currently have their own chapters of the Power of 100 Women.

"We want to create awareness to local charitable organizations on a grassroots level. The Hammond/Roberts Chapter is committed to meeting twice a year to hear presentations from three nonprofit organizations," O'Connell said. "Nonprofits must be nominated by one of the committed 100 women and must complete the application form."

As part of the Power of 100 program, each member commits to donating $100 to the selected organization to create a total donation of $10,000 each meeting.

"All individual checks are written directly to the winning organization. The Power of 100 simply facilitates the giving process," O'Connell said.

The Hammond / Roberts Chapter started when Ericka Hawkins presented the idea about forming a local chapter after she attended another chapter's meeting in 2018.

"These women did not hesitate to jump in with both feet and quickly formed the board of the Power of 100 Women - Hammond/Roberts Chapter," O'Connell said.

Current board members include: Ericka Hawkins, Korinn Hawkins, Mary Beth Johnson, Nicki O'Connell, Laurie Delander, Jill Larson, Erin Jackman, Tiffany Klinger, Melonie Kofal and Stephanie Sutter.

"It took only a few short months to find 100 women in our small community to commit to being a part of the 100 women. Our Hammond / Roberts Chapter was officially born and we were ready to begin working on the first event," O'Connell said.

The Hammond / Roberts Chapter held its inaugural meeting on Thursday, April 4, when dozens of women gathered at Badlands Golf Course in Roberts to learn more about three local non-profits the group would vote on to receive the first set of funds. The three non-profits included: GiGi's Playhouse-Hudson Purpose, O-I-See Family Strategies and Autism Support Group of St. Croix Valley.

"The second half of the meeting kicked off with each of the non-profits receiving 10 minutes to present their mission and story. The 100 women then had 15 minutes to complete their ballots with their selection on who they believed should be the recipient of the $10,000," O'Connell said. "The energy and emotion in the room was something so rare and beautiful! You would have been hard-pressed to find a dry eye. All three non-profits are so worthy!"

The recipient of the first award was GiGi's Playhouse. To learn more about the non-profits, find volunteer opportunities, or donate, visit:

• GiGi's Playhouse - gigisplayhouse.org/twincities/hudson-satellite

• O-I-See Family Strategies - oiseeyouth.com/OISFS

• Autism Support Group of St. Croix Valley - autismsupportgroup.org

For more information on the Power of 100 Women, follow the group on social media (@100womenhammondroberts) or visit the group's website, powerof100hammondr.wixsite.com/powerof100.

"While only members are able to vote, all women are welcome at the events. You do not need to be a member to attend and learn more about the organization or the non-profits," O'Connell said.