Cause & Effect: Power of 100 Women; Coming Together for a Cause
Two years ago, Parmis Pourarian turned on the TV to see news of a car crash that killed a husband and child, leaving behind his wife and another child. “I just lost it,” Parmis says, who was pregnant at the time. “I thought of what this woman was going through and wanted to help her.” She tried to raise money but discovered she couldn’t. “I wasn’t a nonprofit, so no one would donate.”
The experience sharpened her resolve to reach out to others in need. As a successful real estate agent, she knew many women who shared her passion and—alongside her two sisters—devised a creative idea for fund-raising, ultimately forming the Placer County nonprofit: Power of 100 Women.
The premise is as simple as it is appealing. One hundred women, recruited by Parmis and her sister, Amitis, owner of THE STUDIO Martial Arts and Fitness in Roseville (the third sister, Amalis, lives in San Diego), pledge to attend a dinner at a stylish restaurant four times a year and donate money to local nonprofits. Parmis chooses a theme for the evening, invites related nonprofits to pitch their programs, then, after extensive vetting, selects three to attend the dinner and tell their stories. Each member allocates a minimum of $100 among the presenters. Last year, its first, the group exceeded their $40,000 target and raised $75,000.
The approach is perfect for busy women, Parmis says. The financial commitment is low enough that anyone can participate yet the collective impact is dramatic. The women get to choose exactly whom their money will benefit and enjoy a relaxing evening together without the stress of putting on a big production.
Though the goal per quarter is $10,000, each meeting’s donations have exceeded that amount. Often the women are so moved by the presenters they give to all of them. Some provide additional in-kind services. Garri Tsibel, DDS, from Olympus Pointe Orthodontics in Roseville, for example, offered braces to a foster child with badly misaligned teeth; the owner of Rima Boutique in Roseville outfitted a homeless woman from the Acres of Hope program; and Amitis often provides free taekwondo instruction at her studio.
Mindful of the young accident victim she couldn’t help, Parmis also networks through her group to fund-raise for immediate crises; last year, she arranged a private movie showing to generate money for victims of the Napa fires. At Christmas, Amitis opened her studio for a Santa Claus party for preschoolers and kindergartners, who—along with Saint Nick—decorated and filled 200 snack bags for the homeless.
The success of Power of 100 Women “has been good for my soul,” Parmis says. Her family has been blessed, she says, and she always knew she wanted to give back. “I have three children, and I want them to know there’s hardship in the world—that there are less fortunate people who don’t have enough to eat.” powerof100women.com
By Linda Holderness