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Power of the Purse

Women’s Foundation Benefit

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Don Perry 

Approximately 400 people gathered at the Grand Carousel Pavilion at the Children’s Museum of Memphis for an evening of “Fun, Food and Fashion” as the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis held its 2019 Power of the Purse Auction. The event was a fundraiser to support the five-year Vision 2020 Strategic Plan to reduce poverty by five percent in Zip Code 38126, the poorest area in the city of Memphis. This year’s co-chairmen were Gina Brewer, Senior Wealth Advisor; Sherrie Hollis, Senior VP Senior Relationship Manager, Bank of America; and Dr. Bianca Sweeten, Comprehensive Medical Associates.

“The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis is an organization of women helping women break the cycle of poverty through philanthropy, leadership and collaboration,” said Shante K. Avant, Deputy Director of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. “We are excited to collaborate this year with our presenting sponsor Bank of America to emphasize the importance of developing community resources, investment, and financial security for women and their families in Memphis.”

With both a silent and a live auction taking place during the event, there were nearly $100,000 worth of designer purses, travel experiences, diamond jewelry, and more up for bid. In fact, purses of every shape, size and color covered tables that ringed the hallway and perimeter of the pavilion. Some were brand new, others were graciously donated and gently used. All helped boost the coffers of the cause. And to go with all those purses were dozens upon dozens of pairs of shoes. It was truly a shoppers delight! Other auction items included gifts bags, sports & entertainment offerings, trips & getaways, restaurants gift certificates, health & wellness packages, spa & beauty offerings, and artwork.

“By hosting the auction at CMOM, WFGM hoped to uniquely highlight our nationally recognized two-generation approach, which focuses on creating opportunities for and addressing needs of both children and adults in the same household as a gateway out of poverty,” explained  Karen Johnston, WFGM board member and Chairwoman of the Development Committee. “We believe in the potential for early childhood programs and partnerships to support children and parents together.”

 2019 is the fourth year of the Vision 2020 strategic plan and so far, $4.7 million of a nearly $10 million commitment has been invested to 38126 in case management, employment training, early childhood education, youth development, and financial literacy. 


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