On Monday, Feb. 27, “100+ People for Perry” held their first meeting of the year at La Poste. Monday’s crowd drew in 67 local residents and community supporters, all of whom donated $100 each to one local non-profit project in Perry.

The “100+ People for Perry” was brought to town by Mark Powell, Linda Kaufman, and Tom Lipovac. Powell says the idea isn’t necessarily unique as similar organizations have sprung up in other locations around Iowa.

“We’re definitely the smallest community in Iowa that has a group like this,” Powell said. “They’re designed to just help fund projects that will benefit the community.”

Each contribution must stay within the Perry community and national charities are ruled out. The 100+ People for Perry ask that each charity, non-profit, or worthy cause must be 501 (c) (3) or sponsored by a 501 (c) (3), benefit the Perry community, and be project-based.

Since its initial start in 2016, 100+ People for Perry has given a total of $33,700 to the five winning proposals. In the past, 100+ People for Perry has donated to sleep space at the Lutheran Church, Habitat for Humanity’s “Rock the Block,” Perry Community School’s needs fund, and “Shop with a Cop.”

Participants in the 100+ People for Perry who are interested in earning the funds will write their name on a slip of paper along with their proposal.

“We ask our presenters to make sure that they’ve educated themselves on the project, and to educate themselves on how the money is used and what the project entails,” Powell said.

Three slips of paper are drawn, and the presenters are given the “platform” to educate members on their proposal for five minutes, followed by questions from the crowd.

Once the presentations are finalized, patrons from the event vote on which project will receive the funds.

One speaker at this past event was Linda Kaufman, retired English Teacher and fellow Contemporary Book Club member. Kaufman presented for the Perry Public Library, addressing a need for funds for their adult, teen, children programming.

“We always make sure that we have something in the box,” Kaufman said. “I was looking around town to see what’s non-profit.”

Kaufman initially approached the Perry Public Library about the opportunity, Perry Public Library Director, Mary Murphy was thrilled.

“I kind of simplified it for her; we have collections of different things,” Murphy said.

Books, bicycles, computers, virtual books, downloadable music, and audiobooks to name a few.

“We’re just trying to get people to go out in the community where the need is and then present the need,” Kaufman said.

Murphy was thrilled to have Kaufman propose funds for the library’s programs, as the majority of funds typically appear from donations and local grants within the community.

“People value the library in the community,” Murphy said.

After all of the presentations on Monday were finished, majority vote went to the Perry Public Library. The Perry Public Library’s programs for adults, teens, and children will receive sixty-seven checks in the amount of $100.00 each, a total of $6,700 in total funds.

“Cloud 9” is how Murphy describes her current state.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Murphy said. “To have that kind of advocacy in the community is stupendous.”

Joy is the primary feeling of the event, given to those whose personal funds help renovate, build, or amplify a business. Joy to businesses who receive the funds to grow and further develop in Perry.

“It’s so much fun to be able to pick up a handful of checks and give them to something quickly,” Kaufman said. “It doesn’t cost anybody a lot and it makes such a huge difference.”

Murphy is so thankful for the donation and has recently purchased sixty-seven “Thank You’s” for those involved.

“I can’t tell people enough that this is so appreciated to everyone here,” Murphy said.

100+ People for Perry met on the fourth Monday in February, and will continue to do so in May, August, and November.

“We’re always looking for new people,” Kaufman said.

The next 100+ People for Perry meeting will be Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. at La Poste. A social hour occurs at 6:30 p.m. at La Poste, 1219 Warford Street in Perry, Iowa.

Anyone who has an interest in joining 100+ People for Perry can contact Mark Powell at 515-465-4641 or mpowell@fdplawfirm.com, Tom Lipovac at Tom.Lipovac@perry.k12.ia.us, or Linda Kaufman at kaufmanlinda1948@gmail.com.