Clark State Community College will host the first annual Women’s Giving Society Power of the Purse dinner event benefitting the Clark County Dolly Parton Imagination Library on February 10 at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center.
The Women’s Giving Society (WGS) is an affiliate of the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties. The WGS strives to build and strengthen philanthropy–both time and talent–in women, engage all generations and backgrounds and support women to be more intentional with their giving.
“The Society just launched this year, and our initial meeting had over 50 women expressing interest in being a part of the initiative,” said Kerry Lee Pedraza, executive director of United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties. “In all communities, women are essential to accelerating lasting change.”
Pedraza said the WGS chose the Dolly Parton Imagination Library as its inaugural initiative because of how universal and far-reaching the cause of literacy is to the community.
“The strength of our future workforce is based on literacy, and this program is an impactful way to raise the literacy levels and reading culture in our region,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “Clark State will directly benefit from these efforts in both our youth programming, such as Champion City Scholars and Project Jericho, and college-level courses. We are proud to be the lead sponsor.”
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a unique book gifting program that promotes early childhood literacy by mailing a brand new, age-appropriate book to enrolled children every month from birth until five years of age, creating a home library of up to 60 books and instilling a love of books and reading from an early age.
“Many of the surrounding communities have this program, and research has shown that in other communities with this program both kindergarten and third-grade reading scores have increased by 28 percent,” said Pedraza. “United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties will act as the lead agency for the Imagination Library, but it will take many organizations, service clubs, grants and local sponsorships to reach our goal of approximately 6000 children–60 percent of our eligible population–receiving a book in his/her home every month!”
The Power of the Purse is a women-only event, but Pedraza said they hope to host an event for everyone in the summer. Parkhurst Dining from Wittenberg University will cater the event, and a silent auction will include pottery from Mello Pottery, jewelry from local designers, an Indian Lake weekend retreat, massage and fitness certificates, local restaurant certificates and more.
DJ Chill will provide the entertainment and speaker/storyteller Lisa Holmes will offer a presentation. Holmes, from TEDx, is passionate about helping guide students to be “amazing, confident and fearless.” Holmes has worked in Clark County schools as a librarian and served Clark County Solid Waste Management in the field of environmental education. She also served on the board of the Clark County Literacy Coalition.
Pedraza said an invitation has been issued to all schools in Clark County to enter the Centerpiece Challenge for the Power of the Purse event. “All schools are invited to participate by donating a centerpiece to be live-auctioned off by Jeff Harvey,” she said. “The school that provided the centerpiece that raises the most money will have bragging rights, hold the traveling trophy until next year and receive $100 for its school’s library.”
The Power of the Purse event will begin at 5 p.m., Friday, February 10 at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center in downtown Springfield.
Tickets are still available for the Power of the Purse event and can be purchased online at www.uwccmc.org or by calling the United Way office at (937) 324-5551. The tickets are $40 each, with $25 of the ticket purchase price sponsoring a child for a one-year enrollment in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
Additional corporate sponsors include Security National Bank and Speedway, LLC.