The sculpture at the Tree House Child and Family Center in Elkhorn was designed, created and sculpted by Jay and Barbara Brost and Ron Eckert. Photo courtesy Tree House

ELKHORN — The Tree House Child and Family Center announced today that the organization was voted as the inaugural nonprofit to receive funding from 100+ Women Who Care Walworth County.

Formed to directly affect the Walworth County region, WWC hosts two meetings per year where three local charities are invited to make a presentation. At the end of each meeting, a vote is taken, and one nonprofit is selected to receive $100 from each WWC member.

“We are truly honored to be selected as the first nonprofit to receive funding from Women Who Care,” said Tree House Executive Director Nichole “Koko” Cooper. “By acting as a collective, not only is this incredible group of women providing critical-to-mission financial support, but they are raising awareness of the many worthy nonprofits throughout
Walworth County whose programs and services are vital in keeping our community a great place to live, work, and raise families.”

More than 60 WWC members attended the spring meeting held on Wed., April 13, 2022, at the Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva. Tree House Executive Committee and Board of Directors member Tina Winger had an opportunity to share with WWC members an overview of the organization’s 33-year history; its mission to promote safe, strong, and healthy environments for children and families through equitable access to child abuse prevention, education, and resource support; and how the need for the Tree House’s support and services in the community continues to rise.

“To better serve Walworth County in the long-term, the Tree House needs to grow our footprint. Expansion of our prevention services, our supplemental programs, and our outreach will help to stop child maltreatment in our community before it starts,” said Winger.

“When there’s a need in our community, women come together to meet it,” said WWC Co-Founder, Cherith Anderson.

The first 100+ Women Who Care chapter was started in 2006 by the former mayor of Jackson, Mich., Karen Dunigan. A need for $10,000 to help fund portable cribs at a Michigan-based nonprofit was brought to her attention, and she knew there had to be a way to quickly and easily meet that need.

Based on her community involvement, Dunigan knew she could call ten women and ask them to each write a check for $1,000—but she also knew she had 100 contacts who
would each commit to writing a check for $100. At the first meeting, within one hour, Dunigan raised more than $12,800.

Dunigan’s legacy lives on through the expansion of 100+ WWC chapters throughout the world. The Walworth County chapter was established in 2020 by a group of community-minded friends that included Cherith Anderson, Cyndie DeVries, Dana Furlo, Sarah Augustson, and Sherri Gorecki.

“People want to contribute to their community,” said WWC Co-Founder, Sarah Augustson, “but often don’t know how to get involved or question whether their contribution will
make a difference. We know that when we all do a little, we can help a lot. Join us!.”

In addition to the Tree House, members heard brief presentations from Never Say Never Playland, whose mission is to build an inclusive playground where children and adults of all abilities will be able to come together and play as equals, and Seeds of Hope, a horticultural and recreational community that brings new growth opportunities to adults with
developmental and other disabilities.

The next WWC meeting will be held in October. Community members interested in joining the effort may visit or contact

People can join the WWC Facebook group HERE.

“We are so grateful to WWC for raising more than $6,000 in just one night to help the Tree House continue to serve as a leader, partner, and resource in our community’s fight against child abuse,” said Cooper. “Personally, I can’t wait to join WWC at the next meeting in October and pay my appreciation forward by helping to support fellow nonprofits in the area!”

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By Staff Report

Walworth County Community News