The American anthropologist Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
A small group of thoughtful, committed Perry residents gathered Monday night at the first meeting of One Hundred+ People for Perry and while their numbers might have fallen a little short of 100, their interest and enthusiasm seem apt to change the world — or at least Perry’s corner of it.
The idea for the group, a kind of local funding club for projects by non-profits and others, sprang from conversations between Linda Kaufman, Tom Lipovac and Mark Powell, three people for Perry who aim to concentrate and amplify their own desire to promote the community’s welfare.
Seeing groups such as 100 Men on a Mission and 100 Women with a Cause cropping up in cities around the country, including the Des Moines metro, they asked why Perry could not be the first small-town version of the same idea.
Braving Monday’s snow and wind, the group held its first meeting at 7 p.m. at La Poste in downtown Perry. The boundless hospitality of Jenny Eklund, co-owner of La Poste, warmed the winter crowd, and Powell started off the proceedings with a mock-pitch for a fictitious Perry Community Garden sponsored by a fictitious Perry church.
“That presentation was about two minutes and 30 second,” Powell said when he wrapped up his pitch. “And that, folks, is what One Hundred+ People for Perry is about. It’s an opportunity for us as a group to mobilize our support for various non-profit activities here in the Perry area. The purpose is to promote and enhance the lives of people here in Perry and to make Perry a better place for all its citizens.”
The ground rules for One Hundred+ People for Perry are simple by design. It “is not a formal organization,” Powell said. “It’s a group of individuals who come together to try to make a positive impact. a quick and very efficient organization that can finance large-scale projects on a quarterly basis.”
Since the group is just forming, people had questions about how it would work, raising similar points to those raised when Powell introduced the group and its mission to the staff of the Perry Community School District during a professional development day last week.
What sort of projects qualify? Should we try to recruit more members? What if a project does not need a full $10,000? Can we split up the gift?
Lipovac, Kaufman and Powell explained their original idea, and the group discussed the questions, coming to a general consensus to move forward. The next meeting of One Hundred+ People for Perry will be Feb. 22 at La Poste. Quarterly meetings going forward will be held on the fourth Monday in February, August, May and November.
For anyone who missed Monday’s but is interested in joining the group, a commitment form for One Hundred+ People from Perry is available for download here, or contact Tom Lipovac at firstname.lastname@example.org, Linda kaufman at email@example.com or Mark Powell at MPowell@fdplawfirm.com.