Girls' Night Out

National nonprofit Chicks with Checks launches a Hawaii chapter with a party and a purpose.


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Photo by Gina Finkelstein

Chicks with Checks just might be the group Hawaii’s been looking for. We have plenty of business networking clubs and charity organizations from which to choose. Now we have a group that combines the two. Forget stuffy evenings spent swapping business cards. Chicks with Checks is a party and it’s meant to feel like one. Along with the cocktails and pupu, however, is the opportunity to give back to the community.

Chicks with Checks puts the “fun” back into “fundraising” with its monthly parties with a purpose. The South Carolina-based national nonprofit has chapters across America. Inspired by giving circles, which pool the small donations of many individuals for the greater benefit of one charity, Chicks with Checks chapters gather each month to raise funds for a different local charity benefiting women and children. Individual memberships are $35, and $25 of that goes directly to a nonprofit in need. At the parties, members also meet new people and build relationships.

When Kehau Kali, local business owner and president of the Chicks with Checks steering committee, first heard about the organization, she knew she wanted to make it happen in Hawaii.

“I know a lot of really amazing women, but they’re all very different. Some are entrepreneurial, some are running big companies downtown, but they don’t overlap,” Kali says. “I thought it’d be so cool to see if all these great women could meet, get in the same room together and have fun while doing good in our community.” 

Closet Fetish creator and steering committee member Sommer Meyer agrees: “What I love about Chicks with Checks is that it’s not just one charity. It’s something different all the time and we focus on lesser-known charities that need more attention.”

Chicks with Checks’ first beneficiary, Child and Family Services’ Leeward Domestic Abuse Shelter, appreciates the funds. Shelter manager Ann Banglos says,  “the extra money enables us to provide clients with additional amenities, even if they’re little things like bus fare, snacks or medications—things our budget can’t always accommodate.”

Since Chicks with Checks raises money for a different charity every month, the steering committee is always looking for its next beneficiary. Interested organizations simply have to qualify as 501(c)(3) nonprofits and serve women and/or children of Hawaii. Kali herself has worked in fundraising and observes, “Too bad there wasn’t something like this when I was running nonprofits and raising money, because it’s another great source of funds.”  Unlike lengthy grant applications, the application to be considered for Chicks with Checks is just a single page.

Last month, Chicks with Checks Hawaii launched its first event at the Outrigger Canoe Club. Banglos spoke to the new members to give them an account of what their money would do.

Kali says, “Bring friends. It’s a blast; it’s the best kind of girls’ night out.”

In case the guys are wondering, Chicks with Checks welcomes men at its parties, too. Kali encourages men to come to the party with a woman on each arm, or, she joked, “showing up in drag is always an option.”   

Want to join in? Visit www.chickswithchecks.org, e-mail cwchawaii@aol.com or call 342-0375.

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