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Power of the Purse Raises $95,000 for The Women's Fund

More than 900 people gathered in Asheville to celebrate women’s philanthropy and to hear a keynote address from philanthropist Jennifer Buffett at the 7th Annual Power of the Purse luncheon.  The event took place at The Crowne Plaza resort in Asheville and included the announcement of $270,000 in grants to nonprofits addressing the needs of women and girls in Western North Carolina made by the Women for Women giving circle. 

A challenge grant from the Oliver Family Foundation enabled Power of the Purse to raise an additional $50,000 for the Foundation’s Women’s Fund bringing the endowment to more than $500,000.  Proceeds from this endowment are distributed through the Women for Women grant program.Women for Women, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, raises funds to make grants to increase the economic self-sufficiency of women and girls in Western North Carolina.  The 2011 grant recipients are:

  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Foundation - $100,000 awarded over two years to significantly increase the retention and graduation rates of low-income female scholarship recipients.  The funding expands an existing program called “Building Support and Opportunities” at AB Tech that will be replicated at Blue Ridge and Haywood Community Colleges.  Participants at each institution will receive intensive advising including ongoing academic and career coaching.
  • Pisgah Legal Services - $100,000 awarded over two years to establish the Rutherford Women’s Economic Empowerment Project in partnership with Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rutherford County.  The grant will provide free legal aid, financial education and counseling services to remove barriers to economic self-sufficiency for women.
  • Children First/Communities in Schools Buncombe County - $50,000 awarded to support advocacy and community engagement programs that include public policy advocacy around issues such as child care, paid sick leave, NC tax modernization and a poverty reduction initiative.  In the past three years, with help from a previous Women for Women grant, Children First has saved key state services in education, health and human services from drastic budget cuts.  The organization’s work has increased the advocacy capacity, support and networking among local nonprofits and has involved low-income families in developing strategies.
  • Center for Participatory Change - $20,000 awarded for the Latina Women’s Worker-Owned Business Project to expand and provide intensive support for three existing worker-owned cooperative businesses.  Funding will enable the support of two additional businesses and will create tools to support replication of the work-owner model, including a workbook that outlines information on starting a new cooperative business.  Replication of this model has the potential to serve a large number of women.


Elizabeth Brazas, president of The Community Foundation, said, “Women for Women is making a real and measurable difference in the lives of women and girls in Western North Carolina through their grant program and their advocacy.  The giving circle is a signature program of the Foundation and a powerful example of the power of collective giving and action.”