Second annual United Way women’s event increases revenue by 50%

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EAST ALTON  — More than 250 women demonstrated their generosity and caring at United Way’s Southwest Illinois Division second annual Power of the Purse event by raising $18,669 to help local people. Power of the Purse, a United Way women’s fundraising event featuring a silent and live purse auction, took place on Thursday, April 28, at Lewis and Clark Community College – N. O. Nelson Campus in Edwardsville.

Attendees enjoyed delicious food donated by Bella Milano, a cash bar, three rounds of silent auctions for a variety of handbags, purses and accessories, and a live auction with 15 designer handbags modeled by well-known local men. A new addition to this year’s event included the popular Mystery Purse raffle, which was a $10 entry for a chance at a handbag valued at more than $300.

Lisa Hayes, Power of the Purse volunteer chair and BDS contracts and pricing trainer for Boeing, said, “We are thrilled this event was once again a big hit with guests and raised more than $6,000 over last year’s total of $12,083. Our models did a fantastic job, the atmosphere was electric and the food was superb. It was truly an honor to lead the hard-working committee in putting together this event to help local people through United Way.”

All proceeds from Power of the Purse will go to United Way’s annual fundraising campaign, which supports 38 local health and human service agencies in the community. United Way of Greater St. Louis’ Southwest Illinois Division and its partner agencies help more than 200,000 people each year in Madison, Macoupin, Greene, Jersey and Calhoun counties.

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“It was inspiring to watch how we as women can come together to make an impact in our community,” Hayes said. “A simple purchase of a purse, wallet or accessory can make a real difference in the life of a person in need. That is what’s so great about United Way’s Power of the Purse – it’s such a fun and unique ladies’ night out, all to help local people live their best possible lives.”

United Way’s Southwest Illinois Division would also like to thank Power of the Purse attendees, event and table sponsors, emcee Daryl Luster of United Way, auctioneer Mark Stewart and the Power of the Purse event committee for making this event a fantastic, successful evening.

Handbag models for Power of the Purse were:

  • Dave Bartosiak – C. J. Schlosser & Company
  • Mark Boeck – Cope Plastics, Inc.
  • John Cunningham – Alton School District, retired
  • Ben Goetten – Jersey County State’s Attorney
  • J.R. Gordon – Nautilus Fitness Center
  • John Keller – Carrollton Bank, retired
  • Dr. J.R. Keller – Chapel and Keller Dentistry
  • Jay Korte – The Korte Company
  • Jeff Lauritzen – COUNTRY Financial
  • Mark Von Nida – Madison County Circuit Clerk
  • Rob Schwartz – TheBANK of Edwardsville
  • Walt Williams – City of Edwardsville
  • Al Womack – Boys and Girls Club of Alton

Purse committee members were:

  • Ann Barron
  • Sherri Boeck
  • Dana Carmody
  • Rose Gibson
  • Jennifer Johnson
  • Carla Luken
  • Debra Pitts
  • Amber Scott
  • Page Selby
  • Dawn Selvog
  • Pennie Wisnasky

For more information on how United Way is helping local people in Illinois, visit

About United Way of Greater St. Louis

United Way of Greater St. Louis mobilizes the community with one goal in mind — helping people live their best possible lives. Located throughout 16 counties in Missouri and Illinois, United Way helps one in three people in the region build a foundation for a good quality of life through basic needs, education, financial stability, health and strong communities. For more information, contact 314-421-0700 or visit

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