The Classy Bag Affaire on May 21 was a high-end bag heaven for the philanthropic-minded women and friends of Soroptimist International of Santa Clara Silicon Valley (SISCSV).
More than 200 smartly dressed Soroptimists, supporters and political dignitaries attended the annual luncheon and bag auction fundraiser at Santa Clara Marriott Hotel. The atmosphere was as festive as a summer wedding reception, with some attendees wearing flowered hats or colorful fascinators made of net and artificial flowers.
The 2022 fundraiser grossed $64,500 to fund programs to empower women and children socially and economically. This was the highest amount raised since the event was launched in 2011 as The Old Bag Luncheon and Auction.
“No woman can ever have too many purses,” said Birdie Pacelli, 2022 event co-chair with Linda Barber, explaining the choice of theme for the fundraiser.
“I have a closet full of purses,” Pacelli admitted without divulging the number. “I love to change purses whenever I can. Bags for different occasions, for different type or color of clothes…I have a whole slew of evening bags.”
The Soroptimist Classy Bag Affaire, which returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID, benefits three primary programs: Live Your Dream, for single moms returning to school to better their lives while heading their households; Dream It, Be It, which offers career support for girls; and an annual Christmas store for low-income Santa Clara families.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our Club,” said SISCSV President Debbie Tryforos. “With just a small number of members (25), we have been able to help so many deserving women by holding this fundraiser.”
“In the past three years, we have been able to give out $49,000 in Live Your Dream Awards to enable women to complete their education and training so they could go on to be able to support themselves and their families,” said Tryforos.
Classy Bag Affaire attendees, including a dozen or so brave men, browsed long tables topped with 44 handbags and baskets to bid on after lunch. Each themed bag overflowed with treasures: Dom Perignon Champagne, designer sunglasses and jewelry, tickets to sporting events, Airbnb getaways and theater passes, restaurant and shopping spree gift cards and collectibles from world travels.
Soroptimist Jodie Filhardt contributed collectibles purchased on her humanitarian aid trip to Poland in March. These items brought in $1,100, which will be donated to Ukrainian refugee relief through Soroptimists International Krakow.
“The unwavering dedication of our members is awe inspiring,” said Pacelli. “They came through with large donations, solicited harder and teamed together to make this happen. I am beyond proud of these passionate women. The spirit of community giving is so alive in them.”
Also on the Classy Bag Affaire team were Emma Brunner, Carolyn Cummings, Natalie Devaggio, Marilee Dunn, Carol Szilasie and Tryforos. Auctioneer Peter Anning, a long-time volunteer, egged on bidders to go higher and higher.
Visit www.siscsv.com for information about SISCSV, chartered in 1924.
“It is a joy to get new purses,” said Pacelli, no doubt already thinking ahead to the 2023 Classy Bag Affaire.
And a joy for the Soroptimists to make women’s dreams come true.