Written By: Scottie Vickery
Purse & Passion Co-Chairs
Tracey Morant Adams, Paige Daniel and Andrea McCaskey
Ryan and Jeannell Ashely wanted nothing more than to raise their children in
a happy, loving home. Instead, they lost everything after taking out payday
loans and getting trapped in a cycle of debt. The staff of YWCA Central
Alabama helped them get back on their feet, and the Ashleys have been
self-sufficient for more than a year.
The family was among those celebrated at the YWCA’s 18th Annual Purse &
Passion Luncheon, held April 20 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. Nearly
1,500 supporters attended the event and opened their purses and wallets
to raise critical funds to help the women, children and families served by
The theme of the luncheon was “Gifts of Grace,” and those in attendance
celebrated the gifts the YW provides for women, children and families in
crisis. Jordan and Tami, both domestic violence survivors, found the gift of
strength while staying in one of the YW’s emergency shelters.
The children of homeless and working poor families who attend the YWCA’s
nationally-accredited child development center find the gift of hope for
a bright future. The Ashleys, who found their way to the YW’s Interfaith
Hospitality House, a shelter for homeless families, received the gift of
stability. “The YW really did give us a second chance,” Ryan Ashely said.
Paige Daniel, one of the luncheon’s co-chairs, asked those in attendance
to make their own gift of grace. “One of our favorite definitions of grace
is “showing love, kindness, compassion, mercy or favor to benefit or serve
another,” she said. “We all have the opportunity to do that today.”
YWCA CEO Yolanda Sullivan said she was humbled by the outpouring of
support. “We serve some of the most vulnerable in our community, and we
are so grateful to everyone who invested so generously in their lives,” she
said. “The YW’s programs are life-changing and life-saving, but we could
not make the impact we do without such compassionate partners.”
Co-chairs for the 2017 luncheon were Tracey Morant Adams, Paige Daniel
and Andrea McCaskey. Steering Commit tee members were Dalton
Blankenship, Lajuana Bradford, Maggie Brooke, Lisa Burton, Nancy Burton,
Myla Calhoun, April Deal, Jill Deer, Jennifer Evans, Tammy Fincher, Brenda
Hackney, Kathryn Harbert, Sheryl Kimerling, Ricki Kline, Lynn LaRussa, Lisa
Miller, Dot Mueller, Carla Roberson, Kim Rogers, Holly Stiles, Debbie White
and DeValerie Williams.
The event would not be possible without the more than 125 dedicated Table
Captains who invited friends and family members to support the YWCA’s
programs or the generosity of corporate and foundation sponsors.
Nearly 100 corporate sponsors, including presenting sponsors Belk, Inc.
and Harbert Management Corporation, supported the YW’s efforts to
create a more caring community. Major support for the luncheon came
from Alabama Media Group; Alabama Power Company; Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Alabama; EBSCO Industries, Inc.; Protective Life
Corporation; Red Diamond; Regions Financial Corporation; Altec, Inc.;
McKinney Capital; PNC; and Publix Super Markets Charities.