Women of Excellence gala to take place

A number of women will be recognized next week during a gala which will be held in their honour.

This year marks the Red Deer & District Community Foundation’s (RDDCF) fourth annual Women of Excellence Awards program which honours and recognizes the contributions of women in Central Alberta.

The Gala committee has planned an evening to celebrate 14 women in 11 categories that include agriculture, arts and culture, entrepreneurship and community building. Awards are also presented to lifetime achievement and young woman of excellence recipients.

In addition to celebrating distinction, the evening is a major fundraiser supporting the RDDCF’s programs for women and girls.

“Proceeds from the gala sustain important local initiatives,” said Janice Wing, chief executive officer of the Foundation. “We rely on donors and volunteers to make the event successful and to continue programming.”

Wing says this year’s event features an interesting new fundraising idea called Purses with a Purpose.

“The planning committee approached well-known Canadian women, each considered excellent in their field of expertise and asked them to submit a gently used purse, clutch or handbag and an autographed portrait of themselves to be used for silent auction.”

Eight high-profile women sent in their donations. The Gala committee received purses from Canadian curler and Olympic medalist Cheryl Bernard and Olympic medalist and skeleton athlete Mellisa Hollingsworth, CEO of Venture Communications and one of the venture capitalists on CBC’s The Dragon’s Den Arlene Dickinson, country music stars Terri Clark and Carolyn Dawn Johnson and former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan and MLA for Red Deer North Mary Anne Jablonski as well as Wildrose Alliance Party Leader Danielle Smith.

“Each year the awards gala leaves us breathless,” said Wing. “The nominees and recipients inspire us, and the donors and gala sponsors wow us with generosity. This year will be no exception.”

This event is open to the public and takes place on June 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Capri Centre in Red Deer.

Tickets are $100 each and are available at the RDDCF office.