By Suzanne Rent

Peter Christie was looking for a way to gather or group of philanthropists to give help raise funds for organizations in the Bedford area. He started thinking about organizing a local group inspired by 100 Women Who Care. That’s a national group with chapters around the country, including in Halifax. The group hosts events in which each of the 100 women involve contribute a set amount of money. Three charities make a presentation. Members vote, and the contributions go to the winner. Christie thought a similar group with a Bedford focus would do well.

“What pushed it was there were so many Bedford groups that were looking for money,” Christie says. “And they were looking not for $10 or $15, but some amounts of money they could work with. And $10,000 seemed like an impact amount.”

In November 2015, other men from Bedford joined Christie and worked on the idea. “By Christmas we made the decision and by the New Year started recruiting,” he says. The talked with friends and colleagues on their hockey teams, churches, and football buddies.

“Everybody is going to get approached for money,” Christie says. “Everybody can use tax receipts, and everybody, when you talk with them, are interested in helping local charities,” Christie says. “The idea of local seemed to appeal to them.”

The concept is also very straightforward. A group of men meet three times a year, each giving a $100 donation each time. “That made it so simple,” Christie says.

So far, there have been three events: one in May, September, and November in 2016. From those three meetings, the group has donated $ 31,500 to eight charities. Its first event for 2017 will take place late in February.

Big winners have been the Sackville Rivers Association, Brookside Cemetery, Fort Sackville Foundation, Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation.

But Christie says the group modified the rules to share the proceeds with the other charities taking part. During its first event, two groups shared the $10,000. After that, the men decided to give $1,000 to each of the runners up, so each group goes away with some funds. Christie says the goal for this year is to donate $50,000 to local charities.

Christie says he likes the fellowship the event inspires.

“My favourite part of it is you get to see people you don’t see all the time,” he says. “It’s a gathering of community men, some of whom you played ago with years ago, some you went to school with. It’s a chance to meet and greet, if you will.”

The group has already outgrown its numbers. Right now, there are 115 men involved. Christie says they will let the group continue to grow, despite its name.

“We have not put any cap it on,” Christie says. “If we get to 150, that’s fine with us.”

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