Power of the Purse Helps Support Women’s Education in El Paso: Column

(Photo: Courtesy photo)

Eleven years ago, a group of highly motivated women set out to create a signature fundraising event that was fun and innovative to support scholarships for low-income single mothers and other deserving women in the community.

The initial Power of the Purse was an auction event that featured handbags donated by celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gwen Stefani, designers like Carolina Herrera and Prada, local retailers like Tres Mariposas and Ruby Lola, and donations from generous local women leaders.

Our one-of-a-kind event was launched that year and brought hundreds of women together for an important cause. Since then, the Women’s Fund of El Paso has granted more than $240,000 in scholarships and child care assistance and touched the lives of several dozen recipients – including 24 this fall – truly exemplifying the power of the purse.

We are proud to announce that the 2017 Power of the Purse auction event is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the EPIC Railyard Center, 2201 Mills.

It will again feature new and vintage high-quality handbags donated by everyone from Karla Martinez, editor in chief of Vogue Mexico y Latinoamerica to national luxury designers, local retailers and “Power Women” in the community.

The money raised goes for the same great cause – supporting the higher education and economic advancement of women and their families. Your $50 donation includes admission to the event and one entry to win a luxury designer purse. Complimentary cocktails, beer and wine will be served.

The Power of the Purse was created by the Women’s Fund of El Paso after a 2004 study, “El Paso Portraits: Women’s Lives, Potential and Opportunities,” found that El Paso was home to more than 38,000 single mothers, the majority of whom were raising children in poverty.

A 2014 study conducted by The Texas Women’s Foundation entitled “Economic Issues for Women in Texas” affirmed that nearly half of single mothers in El Paso were living in poverty, spending 19 percent of their income on child care, and carrying the second highest housing burden in the state.

The study found the overall female poverty rate in the El Paso metro area is much higher than in Texas, and over 106,000 women and girls in the El Paso metro area live in poverty.

Economic security for women in El Paso is vital for the success and future our entire community. Access to education improves women’s opportunities to move from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.

The Women’s Foundation study found that earnings for women in El Paso increase with each step up in their education. In El Paso, “women with a high school diploma earn 36 percent more than women without a high school diploma. Women with a bachelor’s degree earn 85 percent more than women with an associate’s degree, one of the largest premiums for bachelor’s degree found among the selected metro areas,” the study reported.

We invite you to join us to support the next round of scholarships for ambitious and deserving women striving for self-sufficiency. You can show your support by purchasing a ticket to the Power of the Purse event or making a donation to the organization at bidpal.net/powerofthepurse.

Azuri Gonzalez is immediate past president of The Women’s Fund of El Paso.

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