Writer / Janelle Morrison
The Zionsville Century Club (ZCC) is a group of men interested in supporting our local community in the greater Zionsville and Indianapolis area. The members come from all walks of life and varying financial backgrounds. As individuals, it is challenging to make a meaningful impact in our communities, but as a group, these members have the ability to contribute to the growth of our community in ways that were never thought possible.
The genesis of ZCC came from the “giving circles” model that originated in Jackson, Michigan, in 2006. The “100 Women Who Care” group started the fundraising model of bringing 100 individuals together in a single meeting and raising funds for the non-profit of their choice. The founder of ZCC, Todd Sullivan, got the idea from his mother who is in a chapter in Dayton, Ohio, that has grown to over 200 members in their ladies group. Sullivan seized the opportunity to pull together a few of his local friends and create ZCC. Word spread among the local gentlemen, and the group has raised nearly $70,000 for 11 nonprofits.
The goal is to get 100 men to give $100 at every quarterly meeting to a non-profit that impacts the people of central Indiana. All charities and organizations up for consideration must be in the Indianapolis area, a non-profit 501(c)(3) and non-controversial.
“We come together and drop our charity or non-profit name in a hat, and we pick three of those to present at the meeting that night,” Sullivan explained. “Each person representing those three gets five minutes to pitch their organization. Some members have a personal connection to the group that they are presenting, and some don’t, but they believe in the mission of that organization.
“The club is not just for Zionsville residents. It’s open to men from all of central Indiana. The idea is that we want to keep the money here in the central Indiana communities in which we live. It’s a simple concept. We are bringing together local men for one hour, and we all write a check that night. We vote, the winner is announced and everyone writes a check to that organization. Afterward, we deliver the checks to the organization, and it is a great feeling when we do that.”
Layth Hussain, Carmel resident, and ZCC member joined the club nine months ago, and his organization was a recent winner this past May. Hussain is the president of Helping Challenged Children, Inc. (HCCI). His organization was awarded $6,900.
HelpingChallengedChildren.org was founded in 2002, and its volunteers and supporters have raised more than $130,000 to help children in need across Indiana purchase medical equipment that their insurance doesn’t cover.
“People ask me if there is payment for the work that we do at Helping Challenged Children, and I reply with, ‘Yes, every time that I get a picture of one of the kids from their parents, that’s the payment,’ Hussain said. “I use the analogy that I work to feed the family and volunteer at HCCI to feed my soul.
We’re not a big organization. There are 10 of us in total. Together, we spend six months out of the year planning our one fundraising event in March. It’s a bowling event at Woodland Bowl, and we raise $20,000-$30,000 in addition to other one-offs that we do.
“As word has gotten out about us, more families have come to us for help, and we ran out of funds last year, which was very difficult to have to turn people down. That led me to explore other fundraising mechanisms. In the meantime, I was recruited to ZCC by a couple of the members, Rob Mutzl and Brian Pyne. They invited me to a meeting and told me to bring a blank check. I went out to the meeting and met Todd who explained that they wanted to broaden their scope and reach the 100 members quickly, so they were looking for guys to join from the surrounding areas.”
Hussain said that he was immediately sold on the concept of ZCC at his first meeting and was thrilled when his organization was voted on this last May.
“The hardest part is presenting why your organization is more deserving than the other two awesome organizations. I explained that we had run out of funds, and we had pending projects such as a set of hearing aids for a child, adaptive trikes for a couple of children and a learning aid for a family through the Indiana School for the Blind. With those funds, we were able to fulfill those requests, and it was just a great feeling to be able to do that.”
Ascent 121 was delighted to be the recipient of a ZCC donation. Ascent 121 provides long-term trauma recovery services for teen survivors of sex trafficking. When thinking about this issue, most people imagine that it only happens on the other side of the world. But the reality is that it happens right here in Indiana every day. Ascent 121 serves over 100 kids a year. Most are teenage girls, but there are boys as well, and they see kids as young as 10 or 11 years old. Most kids spend six to 12 months in their care.
One component of Ascent 121’s service that is unique is that right from day one, each of the kids has an individual therapist and a family therapist. Personal recovery is the focus for one, while family therapy is the focus for the other.
“Funds from ZCC allow Ascent 121 to extend the scope of their survivor services, both in the number of kids they can serve as well as the length of services provided for them,” explained Megan McGuire, CEO of Ascent 121. “Our agency is largely funded by the generosity of donors like ZCC. We are so grateful for their support of our work.”
The club has been meeting at the Zionsville American Legion every quarter and invites anyone who is interested in learning more about ZCC and what they do to attend their upcoming meeting and first annual cookout August 10 at the Zionsville American Legion. The meeting will follow the cookout from 8:30-9:30 p.m., and everyone is welcome.
For more information, visit zionsvillecenturyclub.com For more information on Helping Challenged Children, Inc., visit helpingchallengedchildren.org, and for more information on Ascent 121, visit ascent121.org
• May 2017 – Helping Challenged Children, Inc., $6,900, Layth Hussain
• February 2017 – Ascent 121, $7,800, Bob Sheridan
• November 2016 – College Mentors for Kids, $8,400, Brian Pyne
• August 2016 – Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Indianapolis, $8,200, Chris Jackson
• May 2016 – Noble of Indiana, $6,800, Mark Plassman
• February 2016 – Rock Steady Boxing, $6,700, Randy Judd
• November 2015 – Boys & Girls Club of Zionsville, $6,300, Jon Weed
• August 2015 – HAWK Foundation, $5,600, Paul Dreier
• May 2015 – Damar Services, $2,200, Jay Baker
• February 2015 – Little Wish Foundation, $5,000, Joe Bevelheimer
• November 2014 – Just Win, Ruby!, $4,200, Dave Campbell