YWCA's 19th Annual Purse & Passion Luncheon Helps Transform Lives

April 27, 2018

After leaving an abusive marriage and turning to YWCA Central Alabama for help, Tessie found the support she needed to transform her situation “from gloom and doom to thriving.”

Tessie’s story was highlighted at the YWCA’s 19th Annual Purse & Passion Luncheon, held April 26 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. More than 1,400 supporters attended the event and opened their purses and wallets to raise critical funds to help the women, children and families served by the YWCA.

The theme of the luncheon was "Transforming Lives," and guests celebrated the remarkable transformations of YW clients. Homeless children become confident students with bright futures. Domestic violence victims become resilient survivors. A struggling family finds stable housing and becomes self-sufficient, and students who realize that we’re more alike than different become advocates for change.

"If you want to get better, you can come to this place and you can get better," said Tessie, a chef. "If you do the work, it works. Today I’m stronger, today I’m wiser, and today I’m not bitter. I’m grateful that I’m able to move on. I survived and now I’m ready to thrive.”

The event raised $626,803 (and counting), and YWCA CEO Yolanda Sullivan said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.  “Whenever I travel and meet with nonprofit executives in other states, I realize pretty quickly that they are envious of us,” she said. “That’s because we are so fortunate to be in Birmingham, which has long been one of the most philanthropic cities in the country.  We are truly grateful to have such generous supporters.”

Co-chairs for the 2018 luncheon were Tracey Morant Adams, Jennifer Evans and Andrea McCaskey.  Steering Committee members were Dalton Blankenship, Lajuana Bradford, Maggie Brooke, Lisa Burton, Nancy Burton, Myla Calhoun, Paige Daniel, April Deal, Tammy Fincher, Brenda Hackney, Kathryn Harbert, Sheryl Kimerling, Ricki Kline, Lynn LaRussa, Lisa Miller, Dot Mueller, Carla Roberson, Kim Rogers, Holly Stiles, Debbie White and DeValerie Williams.

The event would not be possible without the 114 dedicated Table Captains who invited friends and family members to support the YWCA’s programs or the generosity of corporate and foundation sponsors.

Nearly 100 corporate sponsors, including presenting sponsor Harbert Management Corporation, supported the YW’s efforts to create a more caring community. Major support for the luncheon came from Alabama Media Group; Alabama Power Company; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama; EBSCO Industries, Inc.; McKinney Capital; Protective Life Corporation; Red Diamond; Regions Financial Corporation; Altec, Inc.; and Medical Properties Trust, Inc.
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