Power of the Purse event makes history, raises $100,000

Photos by T-Stagg Photography

At the very first Power of the Purse event in 2015, our CEO Sue Grey said, "Who knew purses could be so powerful?"

Well, the secret is out. The fifth annual Power of the Purse event, held May 9, 2019, raised a record-setting $100,500. This brings the event's 5 year total to over $320,000!

We must begin by expressing our gratitude to the evening's 28 sponsors and 72 purse donors. Without their support, this evening would not be possible.

At the event, we announced that the Family Resource Room at the Emergency Shelter for Families would be named after our Louis Vuitton Presenting Sponsor, Northwestern Mutual. They have been committed to our cause from the beginning. Thank you for your dedication to this event and its mission.

Proceeds from Power of the Purse are used to build the Financial Stability of local women. By empowering women financially, we can transform our community.

Since 2014, the Power of the Purse Scholarship at Parkland College has granted $50,000 in scholarships to 28 women pursuing job training, technical or vocational certification, or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The stories of our scholarship recipients are varied and unique: a first-generation college student studying to become a nurse, a mom of three going back to finish her degree so she can get a promotion, a young woman returning to the workforce after a difficult divorce... we are proud to support their dreams. We encourage all women attending Parkland College to consider applying for this scholarship. Contact the Parkland Foundation for further information. 

The Emergency Shelter for Families provides temporary housing and case management services to homeless families with children. Since the shelter opened in 2016, it has served as a safe and caring home for 130 families. The Case Management services funded by Power of the Purse are critical in helping families find permanent housing and develop a plan for their future.

Power of the Purse guests heard from three women whose time in the Emergency Shelter for Families changed their lives.

IThe evening's main attraction is the silent auction! This year we had 200 purses available for bidding – arranged in rainbow order, of course. Some purses are even stuffed with gift cards to local restaurants or spas. 72 women donated a purse to the silent auction this year - thank you, ladies!

Pear Tree Estate has been the event's home since the beginning. The food continues to wow guests. This year in celebration of the event's fifth year, all the food had a theme of "POP" - the acronym we use for Power of the Purse.

The Live Auction continues to be a highlight for many. Our auctioneer, Patty Frerichs, drummed up bids on 5 great packages, including a daylong limousine trip, cooking lessons, and an overnight stay in Chicago. The top Live items were a Dinner for 10 at Hank's Table, and our 2019 Premier Purse, a Louis Vuitton bag donated by Barham Benefit Group.

A special addition to the evening was a 5 Year Anniversary Toast, sponsored by Sterling Wealth Management. The Mayor of Champaign and Mayor of Urbana read a proclamation naming May 9, 2019 Women United Day in the cities of Urbana and Champaign, and the entire room raised a glass in celebration.

Champaign Jewelers provided not one, but TWO diamond raffle items this year. Raffle tickets for the necklace and earrings sold quickly. When we announced the raffle winners, cheers erupted across the room.

At the end of the evening, we announced through tears of joy that the 2019 Power of the Purse event had raised over $100,000! The growth of this event is a credit to the generosity of women in Champaign County.

Power of the Purse is led by our Women United group. With over 600 members, Women United mobilizes a powerful network of women who strengthen our community through an investment of talent, compassion and philanthropy.

 For information on sponsorship or purse donation in 2020, contact Rebecca Guyette.