Photos courtesy of United Way of Greater St. Louis.

EAST ALTON — United Way of Greater St. Louis – Southwest Illinois Division’s third annual Power of the Purse event raised $18,926 to help local people. The event, held on Thursday, April 27 at the Lewis and Clark Community College – N.O. Nelson Campus, included both a silent and live auction featuring handbags, scarves, jewelry, and accessories. More photos from the event can be found here.

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“The third annual Power of the Purse was a tremendous success, thanks to the generosity of about 200 women in attendance. Evenings like this remind me of the remarkable power of convening women together, especially for a great cause, and I am honored to have led the charge this year,” said Lisa Hayes, Power of the Purse Committee volunteer chair and BDS contracts and pricing trainer for Boeing. 

Nearly 100 items were auctioned off at the event, including 15 designer handbags in the live auction, modeled by several well-known local men. The evening’s models included:

  • Rob Schwartz
  • Al Womack
  • Joel Gibson
  • Aaron Womack
  • Steve Nolan
  • Ryan Hoefert
  • John Keller
  • Mark Von Nida
  • Baeden Jones
  • Ben Goetten
  • Walt Williams
  • JR Gordon
  • Jeff Lauritzen
  • John Cunningham
  • Dr. JR Keller

“United Way is so grateful for our sponsors, our volunteer committee members and to all of the attendees and auction winners for their time and support to make this another fantastic event,” said Maura Wuellner, director of United Way of Greater St. Louis – Southwest Illinois Division. “The Riverbend community has always been incredibly supportive of United Way in our efforts to help local people, and the success of the Power of Purse for a third year is a great example of this.”

Article continues after sponsor message

Event sponsors include Bella Milano; TheBANK of Edwardsville; Cope Plastics, Inc.; Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery; Heyl Royster Women’s Forum; 1st MidAmerica Credit Union; Olin Brass (Global Brass & Copper); Mathis, Marifian & Richter; DNP Rooterman Plumbing; Carrollton Bank; Simmons Hanly Conroy; and Jersey State Bank.

Last year’s event raised $18,669. 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.

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. United Way helps one in three people in our 16-county region in Missouri and Illinois by supporting the 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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