Women United - Power of the Purse 2017

United Way’s 3rd Power of the Purse event was held May 11, 2017 at Pear Tree Estate in Champaign. It was a great success! Our Louis Vuitton presenting sponsor was Northwestern Mutual.

(This post contains just a few of the images from Power of the Purse To view all, please visit our Facebook Page.)

Power of the Purse is a celebration of the positive impact women make on our community, and a chance for women to give back and support other women. POP supports United Way’s work with the Emergency Shelter for Families at Maple Grove and the Power of the Purse scholarship for women at Parkland College.

It was a beautiful spring evening and our 414 guests enjoyed sangria, wine, Pear Tree’s delicious hors d’oeuvres, and the company of other community-minded women. In the crowd were many mothers and daughters or groups of girlfriends.



The main attraction was the stylish silent auction, filled with 206 purses! We had over 100 different brands of purses, in a range of prices, styles and color. Many were stuffed with gift certificates to local restaurants, salons or other businesses. All of the purses were donated by local stores or our fantastic POP committee.


The top silent auction item for the evening was a Louis Vuitton handbag donated by Barham Benefit Group.

Other popular silent auction items were a big weekender tote bag stuffed with a gift card for a One Year Family Membership to the Stephens Family YMCA, a Henri Bendel croco-leather laptop bag, and the lovingly-named “Chicken Purse”, filled with gift cards to Watson’s Shack & Rail!


Guests also had a chance to participate in the Champaign Jewelers Diamond Raffle, for an opportunity to win a diamond necklace.

At the close of the silent auction we held a brief program to share the IMPACT of Power of the Purse. 

Our presenting sponsor, Northwestern Mutual, shared how important it is for all women to be financially independent.

Sue Grey spoke about the Emergency Shelter for Families and how the support of Power of the Purse has allowed United Way to help 73 families out of homelessness.

Finally, Laura, a recipient of a Power of the Purse scholarship, shared her powerful remarks.

 “Thanks to the Power of the Purse scholarship, I do not have to take out gobs of loans to reach my dreams of becoming a nurse and providing a better future for my daughters. I do not know if I could ever truly express the amount of stress that has been lifted from my life. Being able to focus strictly on the material that I am learning, and not on how many hours I’m going to have to pick up at work to pay for school, is truly a lifesaver. You are allowing me to be the best student I can be, and for that I owe you a huge Thank You. After graduating from Parkland in December 2018, I plan to attend the University of St. Francis to get my bachelor’s degree in nursing. My future really does hold an endless amount of possibilities.”

Sue Grey asked all guests to make a donation tonight – and they did! Women donated over $10,000 on the spot. It was an amazing moment.

After the program our Guest Auctioneer Reid Thompson led the auctioning of 5 one of a kind packages, including a Taco Bar for 20 donated by El Toro, and a sold out Tory Burch purse.

The top Live Auction item was a Windy City Getaway – a limo ride to Chicago with 8 of your friends, donated by Bishop Platinum Limousines.

Finally, we announced our total for the evening - $64,000! A new record.

A fantastic job by our committee and guests!

If you or your business would like to get involved with Power of the Purse 2018, please contact Becca Guyette, Director of Leadership Giving, at 217-352-5151 or email becca@uwayhelps.org.

A very special thank you to Harold Huang Photography for the fantastic images of the event. To view all, please visit our Facebook page.