Annual Power Of The Purse Event Promises To Entertain While Helping The Community


united way power of the purseBy Stacee Sledge

The Women’s Leadership Council, affiliated with United Way of Thurston County, is set to hold its third annual Power of the Purse event on Saturday, March 3, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Indian Summer Golf and Country Club.

The dinner and auction raises funds for the Women’s Leadership Council’s giving circle, which awards grants and scholarships to programs that support the WLC’s mission of promoting financial stability and self-sufficiency for women in Thurston County.

Women’s Leadership Council Co-Chair Shelby Wilson is steering this year’s event, which has become a signature soiree for the WLC.

“It’s a really fun girls night out for a great cause,” says Tanya Mote, Director of Individual Giving for United Way of Thurston County. “Some people get dressed to the nines, feathers in the hair, all decked out.”

A wide variety of items ranging in value from $10 to up into the thousands are available for bidding at the event through live, progressive, and silent auctions. Last year’s program included donated items from local businesses for everything from a case of wine to a trip to Mexico, a sailing trip to a big basket containing the contents of a woman’s purse. WLC members donate gorgeous purses to be auctioned off. One year Natalie Cole’s purse was included in the auction.

power of the purseLast year was the first year the event also raised money for scholarships. “We  raised $4,000 for sponsorships for students at SPSCC,” said Mote.

“With the scholarship program, the WLC is really focused on women going back to school,” says Ami Forsberg, Marketing and Communications Manager for United Way of Thurston County. “Mostly single mothers trying to improve their financial situation, trying to get a better job so that they can support their families.”

In addition to scholarships, the auction raises money to fund programs that meet the mission of the WLC.

“United Way offers support to the WLC for Power of the Purse,” says Forsberg. “But it’s their event; they run it and decide how it goes.  United Way is the parent organization of the WLC, so they operate through us, but they’re very independent.”

The Women’s Leadership Council is a membership-based giving circle. Women pay $1,000 to join for a year. A $500 membership is offered to women under 35, and a $100 membership to high school or full-time college students.

power of the purse$750 of that goes into the WLC’s giving circle and $250 goes into United Way’s Community Care Fund. The WLC membership then decides how the money gets distributed from its giving circle.

“They really look for innovative programs, out-of-the-box ideas, and entrepreneurial programs,” Mote says of the WLC. “United Way of Thurston County funds 44 programs – a large sector of the nonprofit world here – and the WCL don’t want to duplicate those efforts.”

The WLC awarded $17,500 in grant funding for its 2011-2012 funding cycle to CIELO’s The Sewing Cooperative and The Family Support Center’s Thriving Families Community Cafes.

Funding requests from non-profits serving women and girls in Thurston County are currently being accepted for the WLC’s 2012-2013 grant cycle. The amount available this year is $60,000.

The WLC is looking to grant local, innovative projects to fund. Applicants must be under an umbrella of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

For more information, please visit The Women’s Leadership Council website or the United Way of Thurston County website, Facebook page, or Twitter.

And buy tickets today for the upcoming Power of the Purse event. Tickets are $75 per person or $600 for a table of 8. Registration is requested by February 24, with expectations that tickets may sell out before that date. Auction item donations are also being accepted through February 24th.

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