Power of the Purse (POP)

In the beginning...

About 50 charitably-minded women from Cowley County first organized in 2005 and formally established their giving circle in 2007 to create Power of the Purse (POP). This group of women headed by Patty Neises – a local CPA with a generous heart – and some of her closest friends started this women’s giving circle. (Of course, Pam had multiple lunches with Patty, deftly planting seeds and talking about what power could come from this sort of collaboration. Patty got the hint and took charge!)

“The Power of the Purse demonstrates the impact that is possible from combined resources,” said Winfield CPA Patty Neises, POP’s president in a 2013 interview. “Last year’s membership neared 40 women and their contributions created a large pool of funds for the grants that were given out in this community.”

The pooled gifts of the members are combined to form a fund for community grants. The membership review applications and selects recipients by vote. Because POP is held with Legacy, Legacy’s charitable status makes the membership contributions tax-deductible. The contributions are combined to form a fund from which the membership awards grants. Power of the Purse (POP) gave away their $100,000th dollar in 2013. With six-figure giving in a mere six years, the Power of the Purse demonstrates the impact that is possible from combined resources.

Initially, every POP member was asked to make at least a $400 annual contribution per year to belong and their dollars are pooled to make grants to community projects and programs. POP established a new membership level in 2013 at the $200 mark for women 40 and under to encourage philanthropic giving.

Each year the women make a few course corrections to keep the women interested. Over the years, the women have honed their grant making skills focusing on those that positively affect women and children in Cowley County. Some women have dropped out, some women have added. Of the women’s giving circles in Kansas the 45-55 members POP boasts is very, very good.


Legacy did not start Power of the Purse and is not in charge of it. What Legacy does do is provide the fiscal work to keep the financials working smoothly, consult on issues and logistics and work with grant recipients as needed. Legacy is the 501c3 that makes the gifts tax deductible, provides all the donors with receipts for their gifts and gives POP financial reports to track their fund.

Power of the Purse surpassed $250,000 in total giving in 2020. Those grants included awards to Angels in the Attic Warm Coats/Happy Hearts; Arkansas City Public Library (ACPL) Early Literacy Backpacks; The Community Health Center in Cowley County, Inc. Emergency Safety Net Fund; Cowley Cares Coalition Fund; Eagle Nest, Inc. Back To School; Elevate Cowley County; Soroptimist International of Arkansas City The Sock Plus Project/Actively Building Confidence (ABC); and Wichita Family Crisis Center (working in Cowley County) Fresh Start Bags and Client Assistance.

Legacy is happy to foster this women’s giving circle. POP also helps Legacy get to know the women who care about charitable work and build relationships with those powerful women.