Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge is putting final touches on Power of the Purse, a luncheon that doubles as a fundraising event for local charities and nonprofits in Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties.

The event takes place Aug. 5 and is the largest annual fundraiser for WFBR.

Two organizations merged to become WFBR in 2014. Since then, WFBR’S all-female staff and board have worked collectively to garner money for their more than 20 grantees. These grantees provide a number of services, including crisis assistance, domestic violence, education, homelessness, hunger, health care, small business assistance, substance abuse and youth empowerment for members of the community.

“We’re all working together to make it work so we can continue to grant to these agencies who are doing amazing work in our community,” Karen Marinelli said. Marinelli is executive director at WFBR.

Jennifer Herman is the program coordinator at OASIS, an agency in Boone that provides support services to survivors domestic and sexual violence. OASIS, Herman said, houses more than 100 clients and children annually.

“Without this local donation we would not be as competitive in applying for shelter funding and that would directly impact the continuum of services that we can provide, from emergency crisis shelter all the way through transitional and permanent housing,” she said.

“It has always been about supporting women and girls in the high country, that’s the number one goal,” Marinelli said.

In keeping with the mission of WFBR, the theme of Power of the Purse will be Women and Girls Changing the World.

Power of the Purse begins with a silent auction at 11 a.m. on Aug. 5, with approximately 50 items, including artwork, jewelry, travel packages and of course, purses.

It ends at 2 p.m., shortly after remarks from keynote speaker Dianne Chipps Bailey, founder of the Women’s Impact Fund in Charlotte.

Bailey’s speech draws on a statistic that highlights the disparity between charitable donations directed at noprofits dedicated to serving women and girls and other organizations.

“We need to make this well-known in our community,” Marinelli said.

The event will be slightly scaled down this year due to COVID-19. It will take place outdoors at Blue Ridge Mountain Club, rather than inside a large venue, and Marinelli estimates attendance will be a little over half of last year’s.

“It was important this year that we find a way to do this at any capacity,” Marinelli said.

To learn more about Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge or to reserve tickets for Power of the Purse, visit www.womensfundoftheblueridge.org.

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