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‘Power of the Purse’ offers unique ladies’ night out

From Illinois Business Journal news services

EAST ALTON — United Way’s Southwest Illinois Division will play host to its first-ever Power of the Purse event on Thursday, June 4

The event, designed to be a “fabulous ladies’ night out,” will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Community College – N. O. Nelson Campus, 600 Troy Road, Edwardsville.

uwpowerofpurseThroughout the evening, guests will enjoy heavy appetizers from Bella Milano, drinks, a silent purse auction and live auction with a fashion showcase of designer handbags modeled by several local well-known men.

The cost is $25 per person or $200 for a table of eight, which includes sponsorship benefits. Additional sponsorship opportunities are also available. All proceeds will help local people through the Southwest Illinois Division of United Way of Greater St. Louis. To register or purchase a sponsorship, visit or contact United Way at (618) 258-9800 by May 28.

Cindy Smalley, Power of the Purse volunteer chair and director of marketing and communications for Cope Plastics, Inc., said she is excited to be leading such a unique event for the community.

“We’ve wanted to host an event exclusively for women in the community for some time now, and this seemed like the perfect blend of fun and fundraising all to help people through United Way,” Smalley said. “We already have some amazing designer handbags and are securing several leading men in our community to serve as our purse models for the evening.”

Some of the high-end live auction handbags that will be up for bid include a black and white Coach bag, as well as items from Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Vera Bradley. In addition, several live auction handbags will contain tickets, jewelry or gift cards. Guests can also participate in the Pick of the Purse raffle, which is a drawing for one of the live auction handbags (raffle winner’s choice).

“At Power of the Purse, we’ll have a little something for everyone’s taste and style,” Smalley said. “I’m looking forward to seeing so many local women in our community come together and have a fantastic ladies’ night to help people through United Way.”

United Way’s Southwest Illinois Division helps more than 200,000 people each year throughout Madison, Macoupin, Jersey, Greene and Calhoun counties. More than 40 local health and human service organizations are supported by United Way’s Southwest Illinois Division’s annual fundraising campaign.

For more information on Power of the Purse or United Way’s Southwest Illinois Division, visit or contact United Way at (618) 258-9800.

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