The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina held its tenth annual Power of the Purse luncheon today. The event celebrates women in philanthropy by raising funds for Women for Women, a part of CFWNC.
Part of today’s presentation was to recognize four organizations receiving grants from the women’s fund this year, groups that help improve the lives of women and girls in Western North Carolina.
Through the Women’s Fund, more than $2 million has been given to non-profits and organization that support that mission over the last ten years.
This year’s luncheon featured speakers Olympia Snowe and Dee Dee Meyers.
In a conversation moderated by Warren Wilson College president Steve Solnick, the former Republican senator from Maine and the first female White House Press Secretary discussed the importance of female leadership and compromise in political progress.
Senator Snowe referred to the current political landscape as an “ideological chasm,” saying that it’s more possible to affect political change from outside Washington than to navigate legislative gridlock.
“Anything that we can do to shed some light and illuminate these issues right now in a very fractions political environment I think can make all the difference," she said, "and to empower all the women here as well, and what they can do here in Asheville and for the state and for the country."
“Problems aren’t getting solved in Washington right now and the country certainly doesn’t feel that way,”
said Meyers. “And so it’s going to be up to communities like Asheville, like Western North Carolina, to do to it themselves. So this is where it’s happening.”
Both Snowe and Meyers said when working across the aisle, it’s more important to remember what we all have in common than what we disagree on.
That sentiment echoes a 2012 YWCA poll that showed that 80% percent of women agree of 80% of the issues, regardless of political affiliation.