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Year after year, the women of IAEE continue to come together as a community with a commonly shared goal to give back to the local communities in or near our event city.

For 2024, supported Purses For A Purpose, Inc. as WLF attendees came together, along with our industry, to support their focus of Empowering Unhoused Women, Building Confidence and Changing Lives, in the Washington DC region. WLF attendees will do so by providing 207 purses and backpacks as well as $646 in monetary donations for toiletry needs to brighten the lives of so many in need.

purses for a purpose

Empowering Unhoused Women and Building Confidence!

Shayna Rutman is your average senior at American University–– intelligent, politically active and friendly. She’s also the CEO/Founder of a 501(c)3 organization, Purses For A Purpose, Inc. that advocates for and helps unhoused women.

She started the organization in 2019 with her father, Keith, in San Diego and it all  started with a Facebook post where a friend was trying to figure out what to do with used purses besides donating them to a Goodwill. It was then that Rutman spoke to her father, and he encouraged her to start something bigger than herself. After throwing around some ideas, Rutman founded her organization to remind women of their value in society.

She has continued their mission of showing kindness and building confidence for women in need by opening additional branches across the country. For her DC branch, she is collaborating with Community Family Life Services (CFLS), to help a larger base of women through multiple programs including providing meals, showers, laundry, mail, employment assistance, substance abuse counseling and victim services.

purses for a purpose
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