Desha Brymers Davis

You’ve got $100 to give four times a year, and you can volunteer one hour every three months. If you have this level of philanthropy to spare, Desha Bymers-Davis has a proposition for you. You can amplify that giving through 100+ Women Who Care Tucson. Bymers-Davis knows that donating $100 may not feel like a big impact, but getting more than 100 women to donate $100 to one organization certainly does.

Since Bymers-Davis founded the local giving circle in 2016, it has raised more than $485,600 for 23 nonprofits, including Erik Hite Foundation, Literacy Connects, Tucson Cancer Conquerors, Kids’ Chance and the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona.

Her efforts in local giving circles have earned her the 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award.

She learned about 100+ Women Who Care from a friend and wanted to join in. “I thought it sounded easy and impactful,” says Bymers-Davis, who works full time as a sales manager with Altria Group Distribution Co.

Laid up for three months with a broken foot, she decided to use the down time to create a chapter in Tucson with other friends.

The formula is simple: At least 100 women get together once a quarter for an hour. In that hour they pitch their favorite causes. In the end, the group selects one charity to receive the $100 each woman donates.

Bymers-Davis says she was excited about how a small, single donation could have impact. “I loved how my $100 could turn into $10,000 with other like-minded women to make a huge difference for the amazing nonprofits here in Tucson,” she explains.

With 250 members in the Tucson chapter, the effect is even bigger. A nonprofit can become the beneficiary of $25,000 in one event.

Bymers-Davis likes to tell the story of how 100+ Women amplified a local cause. The Diaper Bank was an early recipient of about $17,000. She called the unsuspecting chief financial officer to tell him the nonprofit would get a check.

“It was kind of silent on the other end,” she recalls. Then the CEO revealed that Huggies just offered to donate $1 million worth of diapers if the nonprofit could find the money within 10 days to pay the shipping fee: $16,700. “I told him I’d bring the check in that day,” she concludes.

On top of working about 20 hours a month on 100+ Women, she has inspired and advised two other Tucsonans to launch giving circles.

The 50 or so members of 100+ Guys Who Give Tucson have donated around $27,200 to six nonprofits, most recently Amity Foundation and Bald Beauties Project.

“What (Desha) started … has been carefully cultivated into a thriving community of giving women,” says 100+ Guys founder Jonathan LePage, “and now that community includes some enthusiastic men who want to make a difference, as well.”

The Gregory School sophomore Lily Messing and 12 other teens across several schools will launch 100+ Teens Who Care Tucson this fall. They are asking youth to contribute $25 a quarter to selected nonprofits.

“(Desha) inspired me to start 100+ Teens Who Care,” says Lily, “and has been a guiding force in my life ever since.”