Girls Inc. is taking Power of the Purse to the Nines

Strong, smart and bold Girls Inc. girls will take center stage on Thursday, March 12, to model one-of-a-kind handbags for Portland’s must-attend event – The Power of the Purse – a live fashion show,  dinner and auction to benefit Girls Inc.

MiMo Handbags

MiMo Handbags

The fourth annual event of its kind, Portland community leaders, artists and entrepreneurs inspire local purse designers to develop a creative concept for the handbags – each a unique work of art. The sky is the limit on what the purses go for during the auction. Last year a bag designed by Kaaren Maloy topped the highest bid ever and sold for $6,700.

This year’s local purse-o-nalities include Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnson, Anna Song KATU Anchor, Elizabeth Leach of Elizabeth Leach Gallery and Monica Carlson American Gladiator Champion.

This year’s purse designers include Kaaren Maloy, Maloy’s Jewelry Workshop; Jayne Dearborn, Designs by Jayne; Mike Eggleston, Ellington Leather and Larry Olmstead, Entermodal. (See full list below).

Girls Inc. NW Executive Director Annette Klinefelter says they’re hoping to meet their goal of raising $150,000 this year to support the organization’s school-based programs. “Our advocates serve our girls comprehensively at school and at home with $140 per girl, per year,” Klinefelter says. “The economy continues to plummet, the numbers of girls (who need help) is going up yet the amount of money there to help them does not increase.”

Amanda Brotman, Designer

Amanda Brotman, Designer

Girls Inc. NW is supported through various grants, private donations and fundraisers like Power of the Purse.

Design Diva

New to the event this year is purse designer Jayne Dearborn who has been creating purses for her company Designs by Jayne for about eight years. Dearborn, who was matched with Zari Santner, Director of Portland Park and Recreation, says she met with Santner several times while she was designing the bag.

“It was great to work with Zari,” Dearborn says. “She had a definite idea of what she wanted and I put that (vision) into a handbag. It’s very different from what I usually do so that was fun. They get to choose the handbag of their dreams.”

Dearborn plans to attend the event on March 12, with her husband. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a fashion glam evening – I never really get to go to these,” she says.

2009 Purse-o-nalities & Designers

* Anna Song, KATU Anchor, paired with Mike Eggleston, Ellington Leather

* Anne Nedrow, M.D. OHSU Center for Women’s Health, paired with Jennifer Sturmer, Jenesse

* April Sanderson, Regional Manager at Wells Fargo Private Banking, paired with ElizaBeth Rolhoff, ElizaBeth Rolhoff Designs

* Arielle Schnitzer, a Strong, smart, and bold girl, paired with Suzanne Sherman, Fat Cat Hats and Sacks

* Betsy Johnson, Oregon State Senator, paired with Lauri DeLaczay, Clark & Mayfield

* Elizabeth Leach, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, paired with Sha Montana

* Gretchen Keys, Proprietress at Hidden Creek Polo Club, paired with Maya Bauer, Maya Moon Designs

* Karol Niemi, Interior Designer, paired with Janny Downey, Minou-Minou

* Kristina, Z100 On-Air Personality, paired with Renee Christopher

* Monica Carlson, American Gladiator Champion, paired with Larry Olmstead, Entermodal

* Peggy Fowler, CEO Portland General Electric, paired with Meral Middleton, ZIBA Design

* Portland City Council, paired with Larry Olmstead Entermodal

* Sandy Rowe, Editor at The Oregonian, paired with Shan & Kaaren Maloy Maloy’s Jewelry Workshop

* Selby Keys, CEO Key Laser Institute, paired with Amanda Brotman, Amanda Pearl

* Shoshana Bean, Broadway Actress and Singer, paired with Jesse Champlin, Rush Accessories

* Vanessa Sturgeon, President TMT Development, paired with Mia Scofield, MiMo Handbags

* Zari Santner, Director of Portland Parks & Recreation, paired with Jayne Dearborn, Designs by Jayne

Jesse Champlin, Designer

Jesse Champlin, Designer

Girls Inc. of Northwest Oregon is a local nonprofit that works to inspire young girls to be strong, smart and bold. Girls from 8 to 20 participate in programs that help them create peer groups for support, enhance self-esteem and assertiveness and develop basic communications skills and sound decision-making. One of the programs developed by Girls Inc. of NW Oregon called Allies In Action, a set of tools created to combat aggressive, hurtful and violent behavior, or bullying between girls, has been used throughout the country because of its success.

The event will be held at the Nines Hotel next to Portland’s Pioneer Square atop the landmark Meier & Frank Building at 525 SW Morrison St.

A silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m. as well as a purse boutique featuring the works of local designers. Dinner and the live auction will begin at 7 p.m.

To buy tickets: Register online or call 503-230-0054. Become a Power of the Purse Patron – purchase a Patron Table for $2,500 for you and nine other family members, friends, and colleges.

Get a sneak peak at Power of the Purse bags!

Get a sneak peak at one-of-a-kind, local designer bags to be auctioned off to the highest bidder at this year’s Power of the Purse event on March 26 at Mario’s downtown store on Thursday, Feb. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The four-year-old premiere event itself, which benefits Girls Inc. girls who are “strong, smart and bold,” will be held on March 12, at The Nines Hotel downtown from 5:30 to 7 p.m., but several of the purses will be on display at Mario’s on Thursday.

Gorgeous silk beaded evening bag

Gorgeous silk beaded evening bag

Challenged to create the handbag of their dreams, local designers like Maya Bauer of Maya Moon Designs and Mia Scofield of MiMo Handbags and Jayne Dearborn of Designs by Jayne, partner with local “purse-o-nalities” aka local celebrities to fabricate the unique purses. This year’s local celebrities include Peggy Fowler CEO Portland GE, Anna Song, KATU Anchor, Sandy Rowe, The Oregonian Editor and Elizabeth Leach, Leach Gallery.

Designers work directly with the celebrities in the construction of the bags. The handcrafted bags vary wildly in shape, size and construction – from leather shoulder bags to elegant evening bags to one that uses vintage fabric and diamonds rumored to be worth almost $10,000.

On the night of the auction, the purses are modeled by the 2009-2010 Girls’ Council girls ages 8-20 in a fashion show that brings raves from the audience.

Power of the Purse PREVIEW EVENT
WHEN:          Thursday, February 26, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:        Mario’s, 806 SW Broadway #250, Downtown Portland

Tickets may be purchased for the March 12 Power of the Purse event online at or by calling Girls Inc. at 503.230.0054.

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