100 Women Strong is a giving circle dedicated to improving the lives of women and children. As the area’s only philanthropic organization built on women-only leadership, collective giving and collaborative grant-making, 100 Women Strong harnesses its unique perspective and collective power to tackle the biggest challenges affecting women and children, identify their root causes and create innovative solutions in collaboration with community partners.

MISSION 

To improve the lives of women and children through collective giving and collaborative grant-making and to inspire women in Central Florida to be strategic philanthropists.

VISION 

To transform and elevate the quality of life for all women and children in Central Florida.

Our Impact

Since 2006, the passionate members of 100 Women Strong have invested over $725,000 together to address such issues as infant mortality, domestic violence, early education, food security, mental health, and more.
$725k

invested
in the community

21

grants awarded
since 2006

SEE GRANTS

17

nonprofit organizations
supported

100 WOMEN STRONG COMMITS TO OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES:

CONNECT
Reach out welcome and build relationships among women united in their desire to improve the lives of women and children.

INSPIRE
Inspire youth in philanthropy and develop a membership of educated philanthropists.

EMPOWER
Collaborate with funding partners and community organizations to empower women and children.

CIRCLE OF SECURITY

The Circle of Security initiative was implemented by 100 Women Strong in the Pine Hills community. Read the white paper with findings from Dr. Kimberly Renk.

VIEW THE WHITE PAPER

CO-CHAIRS

LAUREN CHIANESE
Co-Chair
Linkedin

LAUREN CHIANESE

Co-Chair
Linkedin

Lauren is working to launch the Becoming a K-Ready Community Project, an effort to bring leaders together to ensure all children in Central Florida have access to high-quality child care.

Connect on LinkedIn.

RENUKA SASTRI
Co-Chair
Linkedin

RENUKA SASTRI

Co-Chair
Linkedin

Renuka helps companies and nonprofits develop their product strategy, map their customer experience journey, and improve service delivery through the thoughtful application of technology. Renuka is a member of the Orlando Tech Council and a Fellow at Crealde Art School.

Connect on LinkedIn.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

KAREN VERGARA
100 Women Strong Member Spotlight
Linkedin

KAREN VERGARA

100 Women Strong Member Spotlight
Linkedin

Karen Vergara is a native of Colombia and was raised here in Orlando. Professionally, she works as a Financial Advisor for Allgen. Previously she worked for Deloitte as a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Global Management Accountant and graduated with a degree in Accounting from the University of Central Florida.

Personally, she enjoys traveling and has traveled to more than thirty countries on her own and and with her husband, Jorge. In her travels, she has also visited the seven wonders of the world. Outside of work and travel, she spends time triathlon-training and follows a plant-based diet.

She joined 100 Women Strong after a friend and member, Jeanmarie Loria introduced her to Avani Desai, co-chair of the giving circle. Karen admired Avani as a professional and woman, and was intrigued by her commitment and passion for the giving circle. As she attended more events and got to know the wonderful women that are part of the the initiative, she knew that she had to be part of something that went beyond event planning and fundraising to make a difference in the community. The ability to have a say on how the grant dollars are invested, the flexibility on her time commitment and the impact in the local community were just a few of the many reasons why she decided to join.

Giving back to Karen means feeling grateful for what she has and sharing it joyfully with those who need it. “If there is no gratefulness and joy in giving back, it is meaningless.”

LAUREN CHIANESE
100 Women Strong Member Spotlight
Linkedin

LAUREN CHIANESE

100 Women Strong Member Spotlight
Linkedin

Lauren has been a lifelong advocate for quality education for all children, focusing on equity for children living in low-income communities. Raised in Central Florida, Lauren moved to Los Angeles after college when she joined Teach For America (TFA) – a program that recruits top level college graduates to serve as classroom teachers in rural and urban communities in the U.S. In Los Angeles she became committed to fighting for education equity after meeting her 7th grade math and science students, who had so much potential but also so many barriers ahead of them due to their economic circumstances. The memory of her first classroom and the goal to remove barriers and enabling children to reach their full potential through education is what drives Lauren. This vision took her to the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villariagosa where she led state and federal policy initiatives aimed at increasing education quality and equity. She moved back to her hometown in 2012 and continued her work in education, working in policy at the state level then as the founding executive director of Teach For America’s new Orlando region. Currently Lauren is working to launch a Collective Impact initiative – The Minga Forum – an effort to bring leaders together to ensure all children in Central Florida have access to high-quality early childcare.

What was your driving force to join?

I joined because I missed the network of community leaders I developed while in Los Angeles. I love being back in Orlando but in my first few years my work was largely focused at the state level. Now that I am looking to make change locally, I desired a network of other individuals with similar ambitions. I loved the idea of 100 Women Strong because it is a group of driven women leaders who care deeply about the community.

Why do we need 100 Women Strong in the region?

While women are the majority of fundraisers, men are more often leaders within the sector. I believe that an equal balance of women decision makers is important because women see systemic issues from different angles. When lots of different perspectives are combined that results in more dynamic solutions. The approach to funding and the focus on strategic philanthropy are two other reasons why 100 Women Strong is such an asset. The flexibility of a self-governed group means 100 Women Strong can be responsive and innovative in the group’s funding approach, providing opportunities for nonprofits to try new programs. 100 Women Strong exposes its members – many of whom are leaders in fields outside of the community service sector – to the challenges the community faces, and these women become advocates for change within their own networks outside of 100 Women Strong as well.

Where would you like to see 100 Women Strong in 5 years?

In five years, I would like to see an increase in the number of members. Philanthropy is so important to ensure that a community thrives. We have to support each other, and many feel like they don’t have a part to play because they can’t make large gifts. 100 Women Strong challenges that assumption by bringing the funds of many women together to make a deeper impact. This allows women to have a direct impact on their community and cultivates a habit of giving that will endure over time.

What kind of impact do you think the group can have?

In addition to uplifting the next generation of women leaders and philanthropists, I think this group can increase awareness of the greatest needs and most impactful levers in the community.

ALDIS LORENO
100 Women Strong Member Spotlight
Linkedin

ALDIS LORENO

100 Women Strong Member Spotlight
Linkedin

Aldis was born in her hometown of Reykjavik, Iceland and came to the United States when she was just seven years old. She earned a degree in Politics from New York University, and she has two adult daughters, Alex and Kristina, both living in New York. Aldis has worked as a business conference producer in New York, is a licensed real estate broker with Sotheby’s in New York, and is an Executive National Vice President with Arbonne International, a health and wellness company that sells plant-based, toxin-free skincare, nutrition products and cosmetics. In addition, Aldis leads and mentors a large organization worldwide and was recently published in the book The Four Year Career for Women. Aldis and her partner Michael are “snowbirds” living between Saratoga Springs, NY and Orlando, FL. She has held numerous volunteer and board positions with Rebuilding Together, Saratoga Springs Rotary Club, Hospital Auxiliaries, Homeless Shelters, Alzheimer’s organizations just to name a few.

What was your driving force to join?

As someone new to Orlando, I was interested in meeting like-minded women looking to make a difference in their community.

Why do we need 100 Women Strong in the region?

There are so many organizations in the Orlando area in need of assistance. By pooling our resources (both financial and our various areas of expertise) we can make a more substantial and hopefully a long-lasting impact on the organizations and projects we support.

Where would you like to see 100 Women Strong in five years?

I would like to see us adding members and becoming 250 Women Strong in five years. If we make an effort to each bring in one new person a year, that is easily achievable!

What do you like to do for fun?

I love to travel, eat, go to yoga classes and have just started Barre classes which are challenging, but fun. Whatever time I am lucky to spend with my daughters and my mom in Iceland top the list. We have a house on a lake in Saratoga and that’s my favorite little “getaway.”

I joined 100 Women Strong because I liked the idea of being part of a large group of professional women that through strategic giving and collaboration, we're working to improve the lives of women and children in our community.

- Susan Myers-Feeney

100 Women Strong is a proud member of Philanos, a national network of giving circles that catalyzes the movement of women in philanthropy by connecting women’s collective giving in 28 states, the District of Columbia and Australia.

 

JOIN 100 WOMEN STRONG

We are looking for passionate and thoughtful women ready to take an active role in solving community issues that affect women and children. We will make a greater impact together than any one of us can make individually.

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Lead the Way

WANT TO LEARN MORE? LET'S CONNECT.

Sandi Vidal

Sandi Vidal
Vice President of Community Strategies and Initiatives
svidal@cffound.org

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