When 100 local philanthropic women join forces, big things happen. The Power of the Purse (POP) Fund strengthens our community at its core with an annual $10,000 grant to support a nonprofit organization serving women and children in the West Chester and Liberty area.
The true power of this network of movers and shakers is its focus on volunteerism, community and awareness. The POP functions as a committee under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty. Committee Chair Maryann Powell leads the group through several events, each educating its members about opportunities to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.
“We are dedicated to serving the interests of women and children in our community,” Maryann says. “Being a part of Power of the Purse offers exposure to a wonderful group of philanthropic women who are coming together to support our community and enjoy an evening out while they do it.”
The POP calendar features a spring Woman’s Day event and end-of-the-year Gala, along with two meetings in between. The charitable circle meets to review grant requests and votes to select a non-profit to win the $10,000 award which is presented at the Annual Grant Gala in December. A favorite benefit to membership is the popular Designer Purse Raffle, which is held at the April, August and December meetings.
“The people who apply are featured in front of 100 women who want to do something great in their community,” Maryann says. “So, they often benefit from volunteers and donations just from being a part of our grant process.”
Each woman in POP pays an annual $100 membership fee, all of which goes to impact the community through the grant. Previous winners include Sleep in Heavenly Peace in 2019, PARACHUTE: Butler County Casa in 2018 and Family Promise of Butler County in 2017.
“Our members vote, so our members pick what’s most important to them,” explains Maryann. “That’s what I think is most important about our process—your vote and your membership in this organization really matters; your vote counts.”
The deadline for 2020 grant applications has been extended until May 8. Applications can be submitted at bit.ly/POPgrant. Like every other group in our state, their meeting schedule and style has been altered by the coronavirus pandemic. In lieu of a spring meeting, POP members will review the applications and vote online.
“In these unprecedented times, we will do online voting this year,” Maryann says. “We don’t want to hold up the grant process. It’s more necessary than ever not to waiver and move forward for the sake of the grant recipient.”
The three charitable organizations that get the most votes will then have the opportunity to present at the meeting currently scheduled for August 11.
One of the POP’s goals for 2020 is to increase membership.
“We target having 100 members every year to cover the cost of the grant,” states Maryann. “We have long-time members and are even starting to see adult children of members joining.”
“I love doing this,” she adds. “It’s important to the community, but it’s personally important to me. I love all of our ladies and what we get to do together.”
All women are invited to join. Special membership rates of $50 per year are offered for those who are ages 21-26. To learn more, visit Facebook.com/WCPowerofPurse/ or e-mail PowerofPurseWCF@gmail.com