Online Business Networking Communities Raise Funds to Help Fellow Member Recover from Disaster

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On June 15, 2007, Gwen Elliott, an Internet businesswoman and Virginia Beach, Virginia resident, lost her son and everything she owned in a tragic house fire. To help Gwen rebuild her life, virtual business networking groups have partnered to hold an online fundraiser. To facilitate the effort, BoldBizBabes established an e-commerce store and the Gwen Elliott Relief Fund (GERF) at Help-Gwen-Elliott.com. BoldBizBabes owner and founder Karen Wilson-Dooley, explains, "We are reaching out to businesses across the nation to inform them of Gwen's tragic loss and compel them to donate products and services that we can place in the e-commerce store for sale. Businesses will be gaining free exposure to online community members while also helping Gwen. 100% of the proceeds are going directly to Gwen through GERF."

On June 15, 2007, Gwen Elliott, an Internet businesswoman and Virginia Beach, Virginia resident, lost her son and everything she owned in a tragic house fire. To help Gwen rebuild her life, virtual business networking groups have partnered to hold an online fundraiser. To facilitate the effort, BoldBizBabes established an e-commerce store and the Gwen Elliott Relief Fund (GERF) at http://www.Help-Gwen-Elliott.com. BoldBizBabes owner and founder Karen Wilson-Dooley, explains, "We are reaching out to businesses across the nation to inform them of Gwen's tragic loss and compel them to donate products and services that we can place in the e-commerce store for sale. Businesses will be gaining free exposure to online community members while also helping Gwen. 100% of the proceeds are going directly to Gwen through GERF."

Wilson-Dooley states, "Gwen has been a member of our group almost since its inception. In our groups, not only do we discuss business issues, we also get to know one another personally and become good friends. Naturally, in a time of disaster, we want to help a member through her recovery in any way we can by meeting her emotional, financial, and tangible needs."

This is just one example of how communities have pulled together to help. Terra Williams, GERF Project Coordinator and long-time member of BoldBizBabes, states, "When I learned of what happened to Gwen, I knew something had to be done so that she could get immediate assistance. I contacted Laurie Brown, my partner in HomeBizBuds networking group, and we went to work on a plan to get our group of members to help out. Each volunteer was assigned a list of needs, and they have not disappointed us yet. We are proud to help another member of our online community in her hour of need." This group not only donated products, but they shipped items and money to Gwen directly to meet her immediate needs, while helping coordinate the nationwide fundraiser.

Bobette Kyle, another long-time member of BoldBizBabes, explains this willingness to help. "It is members like Gwen who have helped me build and grow my business, break through challenges, and keep moving forward. Unlike local networking groups that meet once weekly, or even monthly, we have daily contact as a group online. The camaraderie built among the women extends beyond the scope of business. Gwen is our friend, as well as a colleague, and we want to help her work through her grief and rebuild her life. We hope that other businesses across the nation will be generous givers in helping us make this fundraiser a success!"

The Help-Gwen-Elliott.com Web site was erected to gather and manage donations, sell donated items, and provide information to those who are interested in helping in some way. While cash donations are being accepted, the group is also collecting product donations from businesses that can be listed and sold via the Web site. This is an opportunity for businesses to improve online awareness of their products or services. "These donations will enable us to build a substantial e-commerce store where individuals can shop for products and services they can use, while helping us raise funds for Gwen," states Wilson-Dooley.

Product donations can be made directly through the Web site. To inquire about how you can help, contact Terra Williams, Project Coordinator at 1.888.430.4491.

About Gwen Elliott
Gwen Elliott lost her son and everything she owned in a tragic house fire on June 15, 2007. Trevor, a 10-year-old autistic boy, who was loved and remembered by all who knew him as vibrant and likeable, sought refuge from the fire in his bedroom. His mother and neighbors tried to locate him, but it was too late. A firefighter recovered the lifeless boy from his bed where he was surrounded by his stuffed animals, with which he often found solace. He died of smoke inhalation before he could be brought to safety. The home and its contents were a total loss. To read the media coverage regarding Gwen's loss, go to: http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=126808&ran=40436. To read Trevor's obituary, visit http://home.hamptonroads.com/obits/details.cfm?obitID=52278.

About BoldBizBabes
BoldBizBabes is a networking group for women in business. Group owner, Karen Wilson-Dooley, founded BoldBizBabes in 2001 as a group where businesswomen around the world could brainstorm and share ideas with other women to grow their businesses and solve the challenges they faced in their daily business operations.

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Terra Williams
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