Not many nonprofits can say they’ve secured $20,000 for a cause after a mere week in operation.
But The Queen Bees certainly can.
Christina Swain, Kelly Kemmerer, Missy Kitzmiller, Helen Irvine and Robin Kemmerer, all experienced Realtors in the Langhorne and Levittown areas, formed the all-female charity organization with two goals in mind: to help community members in need and create a positive network for like-minded women.
In order to become a Queen Bee, one must commit to pledging $400 per year (or $100 each quarter). Aside from fees needed to make the group an official 501(c)(3), all proceeds raised through the end of 2023 will be given to area individuals and families with a financial need.
Members will nominate recipients in November and the board — comprised of the five founding Bees — will then determine five awardees. Money will be distributed the first week of December and the organization will start fresh in 2024.
During a recent interview with The Times, Swain shared that 50 women had already signed commitment forms. Thanks to their pledge of $400 each, this means at least $20,000 is guaranteed to help community members in need next winter.
“That’s huge to make a difference for local people,” said Swain. “That’s how much people want to help, though. It just shows you that there’s people out there who want to do good things, not just us.”
The idea for The Queen Bees all started during a work function, which saw the five friends decide to join forces for the greater good. Their initial idea was to create a charity calendar, but they quickly switched gears.
“Some of us aren’t at the gym at 4 a.m. everyday,” joked Kitzmiller.
The Queen Bees held their first official meeting last month at IHOP in Fairless Hills, which saw over 40 attendees. There was no advertising or PR … just the founders sending out invites on Facebook, urging people to come out and hear their idea.
“Part of what we said is, there’s no fundraising. There’s no door knocking. You just try to recruit more Bees,” said Kitzmiller.
In fact, there’s a competition for the next meeting on April 12, at 5:30 p.m. (location TBD, attendees are asked to pay for their own meal). Whoever brings the most guests with them wins a Queen Bees coffee mug. According to Kitzmiller, they may also get to wear a tiara. Their goal for April is to have at least 100 people in attendance.
Other upcoming meetings are on Aug. 9, at 9 a.m. and Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. The latter is set to be a special gala featuring costumes, a theme and, most importantly, the announcement of funding recipients.
Swain stressed the fact that females from any profession can join The Queen Bees, not just Realtors. At IHOP, there were insurance agents, hairdressers, retired teachers and more hailing from across the Lower Bucks County region, in addition to New Jersey and other parts of Pennsylvania.
“It’s getting us women together,” said Swain. “Instead of putting each other down, we’re lifting each other up. You can have some conversations outside your normal. We just want caring people to come. Caring, positive energy.”
She also highlighted how joining the nonprofit isn’t a massive time commitment. Members are welcome to attend all, some or none of the meetings, as long as they commit to the $400 annual fee. Even this is flexible and can be paid quarterly or all at once.
Looking ahead, The Queen Bees are confident that they’ll be able to expand operations as more women get involved. Ideas include having a variety of chapters and finding ways to utilize their real estate networks to help even more residents. For example, if a family needs a new HVAC system and a Bee knows someone who will do the job at an efficient cost, this will save the charity money that can then be put toward another cause.
“Kind of what we do in real estate but on a bigger level, not just for people buying a house,” said Swain. “But the more people we can get, the more we can help. That’s our thing. We want to be able to do something to help someone else out.”
For more information on The Queen Bees, join the Facebook group at bit.ly/3XGz6ip or contact Swain at 267-397-6291.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org