Karen Dunigan passed away April 15, 2014 after battle with cancer. Karen is the Founder of 100(+) Women Who Care which has contributed more than $475,000 to Jackson, Michigan, charities since 2006. More than 115 chapters of 100 Women Who Care have been established throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, all modeled on the group she started in 2006.
On the day she died, it was the 29th meeting of the Dayton, Ohio, giving circle. Right after the meeting, they made a video to let her know how much they valued her for starting 100(+) Women Who Care. They have since shared this video with her family.
Karen created a legacy and 100 Women Who Care grew by groups like ours spreading her brilliant method of fundraising to others. We know each of us involved with 100(+) is grateful to Karen for what we have accomplished because of her!
Below is the article that appeared in the Jackson, MI paper about her passing.
Former Jackson Mayor, business leader Karen Dunigan dies at 61 after battle with cancer
JACKSON, MI – Karen Dunigan’s family said the former Jackson mayor and business leader will be remembered for her strong commitment to the community, a commitment Dunigan’s sister MaryJo Schultz said was rooted in love.
“The Jackson community was her family,” Schultz said. “She wanted Jackson to thrive just like you’d want a family member to thrive. That’s her legacy.”
Dunigan died at Allegiance Hospice early Tuesday morning, April 15, after a two-month battle with cancer. She was 61.
“Her sense of passion for Jackson, being heavily invested in the community since she was born, was amazing,” said Dunigan’s brother Steve Dunigan. “I’ll remember her great sense of humility and her great sense of humor.”
Dunigan was born in Jackson on Dec. 2, 1952. She graduated from Jackson Lumen Christi High School in 1971.
Dunigan served as Jackson’s mayor from 2009-11, with her term highlighted by shrinking city government, collaborating with the county to run parks and personnel departments, and fronting the city’s plan to demolish vacant homes to raise property values.
“Karen was a dogged fighter for Jackson,” said Councilman Dan Greer, who served on City Council with Dunigan and represents the 3rd Ward. “She stood up for what she believed in, and had her own style and personality.
“I’m very saddened by the loss. She was too young,” said Greer, who noted Dunigan officiated his wedding.
A licensed real estate agent since 1980, Dunigan set out to create a small, team-oriented real estate firm of established Jackson brokers in the 1990s. She and other partners established Advantage Real Estate in 1993.
At the time of her death, Dunigan was a real estate agent at Howard Hanna. Prior, she was vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker The Jackson Group Inc. and co-owner of Uniquely Yours, a yarn and needlework shop in Jackson.
Dunigan was a board member of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra for eight years and served as co-chair for its Fund Development Committee. She was a member of Jackson Citizens for Economic Growth and the Jackson Area Association of Realtors, chaired the annual Baker Tea and co-chaired the Ella Sharp Museum Five Million Dollar Capital Campaign, among a number of other board and organization seats within the community.
Dunigan was recognized as one of Jackson’s 2007 Distinguished Citizens for Jackson County and in 2011 received the Athena Award and the Susan B. Anthony Award.
She is survived by seven brothers and four sisters; Joe (Candy), Diane (Fred) Smith, David (Sharon), Tim, Mary Jo (John) Schultz, Dan (Karen), Steve (Kristi), Patty (Leo) Sete, Charlie (Laurie), Jane (Tau) Uhila and Patrick (Lucy).