Women’s Challenge hosts ‘Pasta with a Purpose’ fundraiser


— Lorraine Bailey-Carter has no doubt about the accuracy of author Diane Mariechild’s description of the life of a female, in which she says a woman is the full circle and within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.

“That’s really the premise behind the Women’s Challenge, which I founded in 2009,” said Bailey-Carter, of Aberdeen. “We are the givers, the helpers, we take on our children’s problems, we take on the lives of our husbands and mates and we inherit their families and their responsibilities.”

With that, Bailey-Carter hopes to provide an evening of entertainment, dinner, fun and possibly even scholarship and grant funds for young women to go or return to college.

The Women’s Challenge, whose mission is to creatively challenge women to be healthy by enriching their lives through interactive seminars and events focused on education in specific areas, will hold its inaugural fundraising gala, “Pasta with a Purpose,” on Friday, April 25, 2014 at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institution and Cultural Center on Howard Street in Baltimore.

The 6 p.m. event will feature all-you-can-eat Italian cuisine, raffle games, prizes, a live DJ, the all-female band, Les Femme Totale, renowned pianist and music director Kim Jordan, and the host of “Acoustic Thursdays” Marc Evans.

Bailey-Carter says that she hopes to sell at least 200 tickets for the event, which will include a silent auction of artwork and raffles that will help to provide funding for grants and scholarships.

Tickets are $45 and the doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Vendors are still being sought as well as volunteers.

“We, as African Americans, are inherently slow to respond, so we’re still working on things and we still need a plethora of things and some help,” Bailey-Carter said. “We love to party, we love to dance and we love the arts. That’s who we are as a people. So, we thought it would be really good to do this with a musical component and I wanted to draw in the arts and have a nice meal so that everyone can see exactly what we’re doing.”

While the evening should prove to be a great time for all, the prevailing theme will center on the three scholarship opportunities that The Women’s Challenge is seeking to provide to help women achieve their education and homeownership dreams, according to Bailey-Carter.

The scholarships include, “The Women of Vision” scholarship, which is intended for young women who are graduating high school or who are recent graduates that are matriculating to college for the first time.

There’s also the “Woman of Courage” scholarship that’s designed to provide financial assistance to women who want to return to college to further their education or start a new career after experiencing a life-changing event.

“We’ve experienced women who have given birth, gotten married, divorced, laid off or have had to take care of a sick parent and now they want to go back to school,” Bailey-Carter said. “That’s what this scholarship is for.”

Finally, there is the “Woman of Purpose” scholarship in which a grant, with matching funds from the state, will be issued to a woman who’s a first-time homebuyer.

“We don’t asked for repayment of the funds, we just ask that the recipient volunteers or helps spread the word,” Bailey-Carter said. “The state’s matching funds come with no interests and the recipient doesn’t have to pay it back as long as she stays in the home.”

The event is supported by The Umbrella Syndicate; Women’s Elevation (WE) Magazine; the Committee to Elect Will Hanna for the 41st District; Hannah Marketing Group; and Tight Knit Movement. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to WE’s “Naturally Me” campaign for girls.

“Our mission is to promote positivity and to give women a platform to share their stories of how they have learned to accept and love themselves,” WE Magazine founder and CEO DeLisha Sylvester said in a news release.

For more information about the event, visit: www.womenschallenge.net.