The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

It’s a Wrap: Soroptimists’ Classy Bag Affaire Biggest Ever

From a ladies’ luncheon in 2011 to what is now a signature Santa Clara social event that boasts a growing number of gentleman guests, Soroptimist International Santa Clara Silicon Valley’s (SISCSV) Classy Bag Affaire keeps growing year by year.

And if it’s not the biggest social affair in the South Bay, it’s the only one where hats are a must for the ladies, inspired by chair Birdie Pacelli, who reportedly has at least one closet full of hats and fascinators in a rainbow of colors.

“I was glad to be there to see these Soroptimist ladies in action,” said first-time guest Glenda Rasmussen. “It was a fabulous gathering and such wonderful auction items and raffle prizes.”


This year’s event on May 18 at the Santa Clara Marriott sold out early, reports Pacelli, drawing 215 guests to bid on nearly 50 treat-stuffed bags. In addition, there were door prizes and a raffle for 12 gift baskets.

Every bag — fashionable and vintage handbags as well as backpacks and sports bags —was crammed with valuable items that included vacation stays; gift certificates; sports, theatre, museum and concert tickets; rounds of golf; collector’s items; wine; jewelry; and even a sailing excursion on San Francisco Bay skippered by Council Member Suds Jain. Going for $1,900, a 49ers jersey signed by George Kittle won the top bid of the afternoon.

Two of the bags were donated in memory of the late Patricia Mahan and included jewelry donated by Brooks Jewelers in honor of the longtime city council member and mayor.

This year’s luncheon grossed $81,000 — almost $10,000 more than last year — according to Pacelli.

The entire profit goes to the Soroptimists’ community service projects scholarships and its Live Your Dream award, supporting women entering or re-entering the workforce.

For event chair Pacelli, who designs nearly all of the gift bags for the auction, the event is a labor of love that she has either chaired or co-chaired every year.

“The club has done a splendid job,” said Pacelli. “The 28 hard-working [committee] members delivered.

“Success can’t be measured by dollar results alone,” she continued. “We effectively built community relationships, branded our club, showed our zealousness, our unity and the can-do attitude. Nothing else can top that. As chair, my heart is full. Our deep gratitude to all, to our donors and sponsors, family, friends and all who came and supported this annual fundraising event.”

Honoring the Soroptimists’ record of community dedication, State Senator Aisha Wahab presented a certificate of appreciation in recognition of  SISCSV ‘s endeavor in economically empowering women.

Other programs that the club supports include Dream It, Be It career support for girls; the Family Assistance Christmas Store, bringing joy to more than 100 families who would have no Christmas otherwise; and HomeSafe Housing for battered women and monthly birthday parties for children at domestic violence shelters.

Visit for more information on SISCSV. The Classy Bag Affaire made $86,000, which was $10,000 more than last year.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


You may like