Power of the Purse: Generosity with Style!

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Women browsing silent auction purses

Event photography by T-Stagg Photography. Thank you!

United Way of Champaign County's 9th Power of the Purse event was held on Thursday, May 4th at Pear Tree Estate – and was it a night to remember! We raised a total of $111,000 thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, purse donors, and guests. Our Presenting Sponsor, Northwestern Mutual, has been with us from the very start. They are committed to our cause and we are grateful for making the evening possible.  

Proceeds from Power of the Purse help United Way build the financial stability of local women. United Way works towards this goal with a two-part approach: college scholarships for women and emergency shelter for families. While the purses are wonderful, the true highlight of the event each year is hearing from women whose lives have been impacted by your support. One of this year’s scholarship recipients, Kristy, shared her dreams of becoming an Oncology nurse. 

This year's Silent Auction featured a record 210 purses - a rainbow of colors in every shape, size, and brand imaginable.

Twenty-nine sponsors stepped up to support United Way and this important cause. Thank you! There was an audible gasp when Partner Sponsor Busey Bank made a $10,000 gift during our “Fill the Purse” call for donations – thank you!

Our host, Pear Tree Estate, truly encapsulated the beauty of the night and continues to be the perfect space to host almost 400 women. And a huge thank you to LA Gourmet Catering for providing us with delicious food. 

This year 6 lucky Live Auction winners won a Beach House vacation, our Premiere Purse courtesy of Barham Benefit Group, a wine and floral arranging party from CU Flower House and Ladro Enoteca, an Illini Taco Tailgate Package, a Party Bus experience courtesy of Stefanie Pratt that includes a table at next year's Power of the Purse event, and a catered meal from chef and United Way Board member Bob Rowe. We hope all the live auction winners enjoy their experiences this summer! 

And we can’t forget to mention how our guests fell in love with the “Boss Lady” necklace, generously donated by Champaign Jewelers. Congratulations to the lucky raffle winner!

Lastly, we want to thank our Women United group for leading Power of the Purse each year. Without their dedication and work within our community, Power of the Purse would not be the event it is today! Learn more about Women United.

Power of the Purse is one of our community’s most successful – and stylish - fundraising events. As one guest remarked, “This is the BEST event of the entire year!” 

This enthusiasm shows up in every element of the event – but especially in the generosity of our guests and sponsors. Since 2015, you have given nearly $700,000 to United Way to build the financial stability of women. We are beyond grateful for your continued support, year after year! 

We can’t wait to see you at our tenth anniversary POP event – Save the Date for May 2, 2024. If the past is precedent, demand for tickets will be incredibly high! Contact United Way to be the first to learn about tickets and sponsorship for our 10th Power of the Purse event.