In Manning, a group of women is making girls’ night out productive.
The first meeting of “Chicks with Checks” was held earlier this month at BrickHaus Brews in Manning.
The organization, which invites female members to write a $100 check every quarter to be distributed among various organizations or projects in Manning, had more than 20 participants at its first meeting.
The money donated at the first event went to three projects or initiatives:
— Kindles and covers for kids at the Manning Child Care Center.
— Starting blocks for the swim team at the Manning Recreation Center.
— The IKM-Manning Gala, which funds science, technology, engineering and math programs at the IKM-Manning Community School District.
“Since it was our first projects, we wanted something that we could complete,” said Manning resident Shelli Lorenzen, the group’s founder. “The (child care center) knew exactly what they needed, so it was like, boom, done, that’s a completed project.”
The funds given to the recreation center completed its fundraising for the starting blocks, she said.
“We talked about keeping part of our money for bigger projects, but the group decided they want money in, money out,” Lorenzen said. “We decide that night what we will fund, and the money goes back out.”
At the meetings, business is completed immediately, with the group discussing possible projects and deciding what to fund. Then, members are able to stick around and socialize or head home as needed.
Collaboration is a running theme among the group — for instance, when one member suggested having a giant dry-erase check that could be personalized for each donation, another immediately offered to create the check, Lorenzen said.
The next meeting will be May 2, with additional meetings following in August and November.
Those interested in joining the organization or requesting funding for a project can contact Shelli Lorenzen at email@example.com or 712-655-8128.
“Sometimes there are little projects out there we don’t even know need to be funded,” she said.
Split memberships are available as well for members who prefer to pay $50 each quarter.
Chicks with Checks is a way for busy women to make a difference quickly, Lorenzen said.
“I think it works so well because all the money goes back to Manning,” she said. “I don’t think anyone thinks there’s any bad project in Manning."