Portland, OR. This year’s “must have bags” were up for bid at the 12th annual Power of the Purse (POP) Gala on March 17th. At the benefit notable Portlanders and designers joined forces to create one-of-a-kind purses which are auctioned off to benefit Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest. (Photo credit, Jennifer Rogers)

Kennedy, helped entertain supporters, she’s a Girls Council member.

Local designers, including Ellington Handbags, Looptworks and new to the event, designer Denise Tjarks, created purses together with this year’s “Purse-o-nalities.” 14 local celebs, including KGW reporter Cassidy Quinn and BurnCycle founder Jessi Duley showed their passion for empowering young girls. Unique creations were showcased by school-aged Girls Inc. in a live runway auction.

Organizers say, over the past decade, the Power of the Purse Gala has been recognized as one of Portland’s most fashionable fundraising gala and has raised more than $2.5 million to support Girls Inc. programming in the Portland metro area, and the greater Pacific Northwest. The nonprofit works to inspire and empower girls, ages 6 to 18, to be strong, smart, and bold through after-school groups, mentorship and educational opportunities. Together, with support from partners, funders, and the Pacific Northwest communities they serve, Girls Inc. gives every girl the opportunity to realize the “Power of Her.”

The nonprofit works to inspire and empower girls, ages 6 to 18, to be strong, smart, and bold through after-school groups, mentorship and educational opportunities. Together, with support from partners, funders, and the Pacific Northwest communities they serve, Girls Inc. gives every girl the opportunity to realize the “Power of Her.”

Rapper Wynne performed at the event.

This year’s Power of the Purse Gala kicked off with an exclusive POP Up Shop and reception prior to the runway event. The POP Up Shop featured hand-picked, local vendors, with 25 percent of all proceeds raised going to support Girls Inc. programming. Vendors included Amira Jewelry, Fetch Eyewear and many others. In addition, this year the POP Up Shop featured a “Girls Experience” opportunity, allowing for party-goers to give towards educational and empowering opportunities for the girls.

This year’s 2017 Purse-o-nalities were:

• Tiffany Boyd, co-founder, What the Festival;

• Eden Dawn, style editor, Portland Monthly;

• Stacey Dodson, market president, U.S. Bank;

• Jessi Duley, owner, BurnCycle;

• Susan Fairchild, owner; S Fairchild Designs;

• Paula Hayes, CEO and founder, Hue Noir;

• Kathleen Lewis, philanthropist;

• Peggy Maguire, senior vice president, corporate accountability and performance, Cambia Health Solutions;

• Hon. Adrienne Nelson, judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court;

• Kate Norris, founder, winemaker, and general manager, SE Wine Collective;

• Cassidy Quinn, reporter, KGW News;

• Angela Sheehan, principal, CFO, Glumac;

• Kelsey Troy, senior vice president, human resources, KinderCare Education; and

• Susan Wilkerson, vice president and general manager of strategic global accounts, Lam Research

Featured purse designers were:

• Leather Girl Kelley;

• Mari Lassa;

• Ellington Handbags;

• Scott Hamlin of Looptworks;

• Susan Fairchild of S Fairchild Designs;

• Christina Castillo of Christina Castillo Handbags;

• LOURDES é EVA;

• COLTY;

• Janny Downey of Minou-Minou;

• Denise Tjarks;

• SOREL;

• Jeff Amrhein of Hand and Hide; and

• Mia Scofield of Mo&Co.

The event is presented by KinderCare Education, along with supporting sponsors Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Care Foundation, Bank of America, Buchanan Angeli Altschul & Sullivan LLP, Ernst & Young, KeyBank, Portland Trail Blazers, The Standard, U.S. Bank, Nike, Wells Fargo Bank, Hannah Andersson, Delta Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Markowitz Herbold PC., Burncycle, Sally Morrow Creative, Premiere Press, Cambia, Kassab Jewelers, Randall Children’s Hospital, Cindy Thompson Events, Lam Research and Walsh Construction.

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About Girls Inc.

Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest inspires girls, ages six to 18, to be strong, smart, and bold. Our gender-specific programs and research-based curricula provide girls with the confidence and self-esteem to access a bright and economically-independent future. For more information, please visit www.girlsincpnw.org.

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