COEUR d’ALENE — With nearly $2,000 more than last year, members of Cancer and Community Charities — 3Cs — have once again accomplished quite a feat.
Funds distributed to 26 Kootenai County nonprofits and causes Friday during the 3Cs Appreciation Lunch totaled $115,350, an organizational best.
"I think that what I like particularly is the 3Cs supports small, local entities. That's more of the community side of it," said Jill Blackburn, who joined 3Cs in 2007. "I'm very pleased with it."
Just about every seat was filled in a convention bay of The Coeur d'Alene Resort as 3Cs members and recipients dined on a light meal and enjoyed entertainment by Diana Clemons, who performed several pieces on her violin and viola.
The 3Cs was founded in 1962 to raise funds to fight cancer and to assist with community needs. The organization has about 12 different activity groups, through which the ladies pay yearly dues while having fun together golfing, stitching, biking, reading, traveling and more.
"This organization represents a lot of great women doing great things for our community," said Clemons, whose nonprofit, Harmony Ranch, uses horsemanship, music and the arts to enhance the lives of those with disabilities, at risk or elderly.
"I always look forward to this," she said of performing at the luncheon.
Genie Higbee has been in 3Cs for 13 years. She and Blackburn and 20-year member Antje Cripe chair the book club, which boasts about 160 members.
"Anyone who works with this organization knows there are no paid employees. There is no money being taken away," Higbee said. "It all goes to our local charities, and that is very rewarding."
The 3Cs Book Club is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Members meet once a month and participate in lively discussions. They welcome presenters and scholars from local higher education institutions who lead the discourse about literary selections.
“At the very least it seems to me that it’s quite an achievement,” Cripe said. "It's grown the same way 3Cs has, starting out very simply."
Blackburn said she joined 3Cs and the book club soon after moving to the area, leaving behind the people and places she knew.
"We were just real strangers until I joined the book club," she said. "It became my community. It has sustained me through many of the normal ups and downs in life."
The annual Appreciation Lunch is held as a day to celebrate the good work done by North Idaho's nonprofits while awarding them a portion of the funds 3Cs members raise throughout the year. Aside from member fees to generate support, 3Cs also hosts a fashion show in the spring, a golf tournament in September and a craft fair in October.