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Women in Philanthropy Use “Power of the Purse” to Help Midlands Women and Children

The University of South Carolina Alumni Center turned into a shopper’s paradise Thursday night for Power of the Purse, the annual fundraiser organized by Women in Philanthropy.

A crowd of several hundred managed to tear themselves away from food and drinks provided by Southern Way Catering long enough to bid on silent and live auction items including many designer purses. Those not as enthralled by the plethora of pocketbooks were not forgotten, with a “Man Cave” section of the event offering items for bid including a recliner and packages offered by local businesses including the Columbia Fireflies and Music Farm Columbia.

Jonathon Rush served as master of ceremonies and auctioneer, and the bidding in the live auction was fast and furious. The silent auction alone raised more than $11,000, with final totals for the overall event still being calculated Friday.

Women in Philanthropy, founded in 2002 by 16 local leaders, has invested more than $1 million in the community since its founding. Working in partnership with the United Way of the Midlands and the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the group gives funds to programs which help local women and children, with this year’s focus on helping families become financially stable.

“This is a special, special group of women from all over the Midlands, all types of careers, all types of walks of life,” said Lindsey Spires Griffin, chair of the Women in Philanthropy events subcommittee. “We all come together to work for causes that benefit women and children in need.”

Many of those who attended Power of the Purse donated gently used handbags or luggage (and in many cases bought new ones at the auction to replace the gently used). Griffin said those donations will also help women in need.

“All of those items will be donated to the Family Shelter, which is a partner organization of the United Way. Handbags will be used for women who are transitioning from homelessness or other situations in their lives and going to job interviews,” she explained.

More information on Women in Philanthropy and the work the group does in the community is available here. More pictures from the Power of the Purse event will be posted on the Midlands Anchor Facebook page.

Pictured: Excited winners during the live auction at Power of the Purse (photo by Allen Wallace)

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