Handbags for Hope Raises Over $47,000 for Literacy Network




Congratulations to the Literacy Network’s 2016 Hope Award Winner, Victoria Mitchell for all of her hard work and dedication to learning to read! Left to Right: Victoria Mitchell and Literacy Network President Michelle Guenther

Photography by Sarah Kramer

The Literacy Network hosted its fifth annual Handbags for Hope fundraiser on February 25th at the Cincinnati Club. With almost 400 people in attendance, the event raised over $47,000 for Literacy Network programs.

Designer handbags, cupcakes, themed purses and the bidding spirit provided the perfect atmosphere for a successful evening. Following dinner, Tim Goldrainer, lead singer of The Menus, kicked off the program and rallied the crowd for the live auction. Guests raised their paddles for brand new handbags including: Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Kate Spade and more.

The silent auction included designer handbags and Pack-a-Purse, with themed purses full of bonus prizes. The Major Award Raffle featured $500 cash and a $500 gift card to Macy’s. Guests participated in the Abby Girl Sweets Reward Raffle, where delicious cupcakes were sold for a chance to win a stunning piece of jewelry from Diamond Rocks. It’s in the Bag Raffle featured winning tickets with designer wristlets and one major award, a beautiful Kate Spade tote. And guests entered the Split-The-Purse Raffle to win a designer handbag or generous cash prize.

Highlights of the evening came when the 2016 Chair-Couples and Hope Award winner were honored. Chair Couples Ralph and Janelle Lee, Stan Williams and Kristi Clement-Williams were recognized for their philanthropic work in the community, specifically for naming the Literacy Network as beneficiary of their 2015 Fore Kids Golf Outing. The outing generously donated $14,000 to the Literacy Network and the couples have raised over $54,000 for youth in our city since 2011.

Literacy Network President Michelle Guenther stated, “We are incredibly grateful to everyone in attendance this evening, and I am overwhelmed with all of the positive energy in the room! I cannot thank the Lee’s and Williams’ enough for their generosity and all they have done to better the Cincinnati community. They are so much fun to work with and we are excited to continue this relationship.”

Big Dave, Chelsea and Statt from B-105 awarded the 2016 Hope Award to Victoria Mitchell, a hardworking student in the Literacy Network’s Adult Basic Reading Program.

Victoria is an amazing woman. She raises her twin great grandsons, works at the Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry and volunteers at the boys’ school. Perhaps most amazing, Victoria wanted to be in her church choir and because of her reading limitations, she memorized every word to every song! When asked how she was able to do that, Victoria stated, “Well, God gives you gifts to make up for what you don’t have.” After accepting her award, two different donors bought live auction handbags for Victoria, who graciously and tearfully accepted the generous gift.

Guenther shared, “No one is more deserving of the Hope Award than Victoria! She is doing a wonderful job in class and is dedicated to learning to read. Her selflessness and perseverance in life serves as an example to all of us, and we are proud to recognize all of her hard work!”

The Literacy Network thanks sponsors, guests and volunteers who made the evening such a success. Event sponsors include: Great American Insurance Group, Merrill Lynch: Hambleton/Fieler Group, Hengehold Capital Management LLC, Wycoff: Lucas-Raymond James, Holy Grail-Banks, Busam Nissan, Scripps Howard Foundation, Platinum Marketing Group, Keating Muething & Klekamp, Graydon Head, Kroger, Macy’s, Josh & Melissa Gerth, Mercy Health: Dr. Robert Cranley, Tim Goldrainer, Signature Photo Booth, Dr. Carol L. Egner, Seton High School (Kathy Allen Ciarla, President), Prestige, Jeff & Lee Rose, The Cobb Group, Ken & Cathy Feldmann, Mary Meinhardt, Katy Meinhardt, Abby Girl Sweets Cupcakery, Saks Fifth Avenue, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Everything But the House, Fox 19 News, Cincinnati Club & Davis Catering Inc., Doug & Michelle Guenther, Andrew & Kim McDermott and B105.1 FM Cincinnati’s Country.

For more information on how you can give the gift of literacy to struggling adults and children in the Greater Cincinnati area, call (513) 621-READ or visit www.lngc.org