New men's group forming to support Fox Valley charities

Posted9/1/2017 3:30 PM
  • Karen Hollis is seated between Bradford Traywick, left, and Rob Hollis. They have founded 100+ Men Who Give a Damn as a complement to the women's group 100+ Women Who Care, both of which will support local charities.

    Karen Hollis is seated between Bradford Traywick, left, and Rob Hollis. They have founded 100+ Men Who Give a Damn as a complement to the women's group 100+ Women Who Care, both of which will support local charities. COURTESY OF KAREN HOLLIS

Karen and Rob Hollis figured that if the 100+ Women Who Care -- Fox Valley organization they created two years ago has had such great success in supporting local charities, why not get men involved?

And so it is that the owners of K. Hollis Jewelers in Batavia will hold the kickoff meeting at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at the jewelry store, 147 S. Randall Road, for a group called 100+ Men Who Give a Damn.

The organization will operate much the same as the women's group, with 100 or more members meeting four times a year to each pitch in $100 in order to donate a total of $10,000 or more each time to a charity chosen from within the group.

But it's not a free-for-all of 100 folks talking over each other in an attempt to get donations for a charity near and dear to their hearts. It's far more evenhanded and, to a great extent, open to chance.

"Everyone comes in with their $100 check and a charity name to nominate, and all of those names go into a bowl," Karen Hollis said of the process. After that, Karen picks three names from the bowl and those who nominated any of those three have five minutes to stand up and make a pitch for that charity.

"The group of 100 people votes right there, and within an hour, one charity leaves with $10,000," she added.

Well, it's not technically "leaving" with the money. As much as anything else, the group of women enjoys coming up with a creative way to surprise the charity chosen and present the check. So members are sworn to secrecy as to which charity was picked.

"We have had people sobbing at the time we give the check," Karen said. "They are so grateful because, after all, these organizations are seeing nothing but budget cuts lately."

A charity can only win the money once a year and it has to be 501 3c organization designated as a nonprofit.

So now it will be the men's turn to get involved.

"We are really excited about being able to double up on the help we can provide," Karen said. "The men are already talking about wanting to outdo the women in their giving."

Regardless of who gives what and when, Karen and Rob Hollis have come upon a concept that simply makes them feel good about where they live and the people around them.

"We just love Batavia and love being able to help organizations throughout the Fox Valley," Karen said. "This is such an amazing area, and I've met people from amazing charities that I didn't even know existed, and I think that is really cool."

Anyone interested in learning more about the organizations and the meetings can contact Hollis at (630) 879-8003.

Get out the wine:

We used to call it "festival of the bees" because nature's busy insects always liked hanging around the food and wine at Geneva's Festival of the Vine, which starts Friday night.

But the bees coming out usually meant the weather was excellent for what has become a great weekend in downtown Geneva.

The bees haven't been an issue in some time, and the festival has become bigger and better with each passing year.

We'll keep our fingers crossed about the weather. It still smarts to think about one, maybe 10 years ago or more now, which was totally washed out by nonstop rain.

As usual, we take a moment to thank the late Chuck Lencioni for his idea of having a "taste of Geneva" type of attraction at the festival. It became known as Flavor Fare and it's at the core of what this event is all about.

A view of history:

Batavia author Dan Van Haften is taking another "deep" dive into history, and by that I mean he is dissecting the mind of a founding father and applying his reasoning to the Declaration of Independence.

Those who know their history may have guessed that Van Haften's new book is about Thomas Jefferson. Along with co-author David Hirsch, Van Haften explains how Jefferson used a "six-element structure" to organize and draft the document that declared we had started a new country.

The two had previously written "Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason" about the process Lincoln undertook in making some of the most critical decisions in the nation's history.

By breaking down the Declaration of Independence in step-by-step diagrams, Van Haften says those of all ages interested in history will find it to be a fascinating look at how Jefferson used a scientific method to structure the Declaration's persuasive logic.

The book is available through independent publishing company Savas Beatie LLC.

It's the harmony:

It's almost impossible to declare which band had the best singers during the 1960s and '70s, when music was undergoing a significant shift, while still carrying tremendous vocal harmonies as the foundation for anything that made it onto a vinyl record.

This sort of thing pops into my mind after watching Arcada Theatre frontman Ron Onesti on WTTW promoting his Cornerstones of Rock concert on Nov. 25 at the theater.

That concert, of course, features so many of the great bands that were around Chicago during those decades.

Also, in listening to an "oldies" station I created on my Pandora list quite a bit the past month or so, I thought more about which of these numerous bands really stood out as having exceptional voices and the type of harmonies that would stop you in your tracks.

Knowing most everyone else of Baby Boomer age would likely have totally different choices, I invite those wanting to weigh in to send me a note on those you considered the very best.

My top three? The Cryan' Shames, The Association and Three Dog Night. Hard to deny these other fellows, so I will mention that The Beach Boys and The Beatles were very close to my Top Three. Truth be told, I liked The Beach Boys and The Beatles quite a bit more than those that made my Top Three, though the Cryan' Shames, by far, were my favorite local band.

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