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Leadership Team

Shayna Rutman

CEO/Founder

Lead Chapter Coordinator of San Diego/DC Branches

San Diego

My story with the foundation of Purses For A Purpose started with my dad. He showed me a Facebook flyer that said "Have an extra purse? Don't sell it, give it to a homeless woman". So, a huge shoutout to my dad for initiating this ever-growing organization.

 

We began discussing our ideas and tactics and Purses For A Purpose came to light. Purses for a Purpose was born under the core belief that all homeless women have value in society and to raise awareness about the ever-growing homeless crisis. We started spreading the word on social media about our project and that we were in need of purse and travel-sized toiletries contributions, and to our astonishment, we received a lot of donations and praise!

 

As our social media marketing grew on Facebook, so did the opportunity to finally distribute the fully stocked purses. I partnered with the Street Boutique, the homeless advocacy division of Think Dignity in San Diego, and began traveled with them around North County San Diego every other month. During the course of my distributions, I learned, and continue to learn, so much from the stories of the homeless women I have met in regard to the ever-growing homeless crisis. 

Throughout the filters of photos, you can see how much this organization has grown. In the beginning, we didn’t know the most suitable method when packing and distributing the purses, but as I kept going back to deliver, I found what worked and what didn't. Approximately, my first delivery in August 2019 had around 14 bags compared to the last delivery in July 2023 with 40+! I learned throughout the delivery process how every delivery is a hit or miss, mainly depending on how many women show up, so some days I went home with extra bags and reused them for the next event. 

 

I want to thank you for your support and for wanting to help us in any way possible.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!

 

Last Updated: 2023

Amanda Hughes

COO

Last Updated: 2024

 

Sircia Levitt

CFO/Treasurer

Co-Chapter Coordinator of CT

 

New Haven

After starting the New Haven branch of Purses for a Purpose during the pandemic in 2020, I have watched this organization grow from being a great idea to a great success. The New Haven chapter donated over 200 purses filled with toiletry and hygiene items to women experiencing homelessness and domestic abuse situations. We also donated purses to a local organization that houses and assists refugees. Since leaving to study at the University of Virginia, I have transitioned to an executive role in the organization, ensuring that our monetary and physical donation tracking system is streamlined. Seeing the impact of this organization on so many lives has been nothing short of a blessing, and I can't thank all of our donors and team members enough for their generosity, hard work, and endless support. 

Last Updated: 2024

Grace Bower Richardson

Secretary

Co- Chapter Coordinator of CT

 

Southbury

I began working for Purses for a Purpose in January of 2024. My interests in serving our homeless communities in Connecticut and empowering women has driven my previous advocacy work. I became involved with Purses because I love the hands-on approach. When we hand out purses and handbags directly to homeless women, many experience pure joy from just one small donation. I want to do my part in sparking this joy while also raising awareness of the growing homeless crisis. 

Last Updated: 2024

Natasha Hernandez

Graphic Designer / Social Media Co-Coordinator

Last Updated 2024

Tanya Pritchett

Graphic Designer / Social Media Co-Coordinator

Last Updated 2024

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