PALM COAST, Fla. (April 25, 2023) – Celebrating fifteen years of leading ladies, the Women United Flagler Chapter hosted their annual Power of the Purse event on Monday at the Hammock Dunes Club, raising $30,790 to support local programs and causes.

Chapter president Linda Mahran greeted a sold-out crowd with her signature elegance and poise.

Linda Mahran, President of Women United Flagler. Photo: Flagler News Weekly

As a founding member of the organization and the ‘2009 and 2015 Woman of the Year’, Mahran has seen firsthand the impact dedicated women in the community have had as champions of social causes.

She was pleased by the response of women in the community when they learned this year’s Power of the Purse would return to it’s traditional home at the Hammock Dunes Club and format.

A past Woman of the Year, Cindy Dalecki is joined by Intracoastal Bank’s Laura Salazar and Maria Scarol. Photo: Flagler News Weekly

“We are so excited that we have sold out our 15th annual Power of the Purse event. We had so many people come up to us, thanking us for having it in person again,” said Mahran. “For the past three years we’ve held it virtual and they were so ready to come back and have this in person.”

“This year we’re honoring the Women of the Year for the past 15 years,” she said. “Fifteen years these women have been contributing to the ongoing success of Women United Flagler and we want to take this time to recognize their time, their dedication, their creativity to keep this organization helping our community.”

2012 Woman of the Year Donna Murray is joined by her mother and friend Sandra Shank, Photo: Flagler News Weekly

Among those sponsoring and making personal contributions was Donna Murray. As a founding member, she too has seen the impact of the organization supporting women and children’s causes, and was named ‘Woman of the Year’ for her leadership in 2012.

“This is absolutely fantastic. It brings the community together, it makes you realize how many special women there are and we’re blessed to all be together again,” said Murray.

“As the community grows, so do we. It’s all about team spirit, helping each other, being together and just making everybody aware of what we do for the community.”

Funds raised help support charitable organizations in Flagler County including the Family Life Center and the Abundant Life Ministries’ A Christmas to Remember program.

Trish Giaccone and Sandra Shank attend the 15th Annual Power of the Purse on April 24, 2023. Photo: Flagler News Weekly

On hand to address guests, Trish Giaccone, executive director for the Family Life Center expressed her appreciation for the support from the Women United Flagler, while expressing her concern about funding changes from the United Way Volusia-Flagler for the upcoming year.

“We really value the support that’s provided to us, financial support more importantly, particularly with findings that the larger United Way isn’t going to be funding our emergency shelter, our connections here is really vital to the ongoing organizational needs,” said Giaccone.

“I gotta tell you that the impact is so enormous that I haven’t even wrapped my head around how we’re going to account for that $50,000 loss.”

Members of the Chiumento Law Firm attend the 15th Annual Power of the Purse on April 24, 2023 at Hammock Dunes Club. Photo: Flagler News Weekly

A lowkey powerhouse in the community, Abundant Life Ministries CEO Sandra Shank’s programs have also been a recipient of the Women United Flagler grant process, and as she shared news of the next project underway, she was grateful for the continued support.

“First of all I’m going to be saying thank you to Flagler Women United for their support of A Christmas to Remember and Phoenix Primary Care, and I’m also going to be speaking to them about recent funding for Phoenix Crossings, which is our residential permanent supportive housing in Bunnell for youth aging out of foster care and adults with disabling conditions and extremely low income,” shared Shank, whose latest project will be supported by $6.5 million in funding by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

“We are hoping to break ground at the beginning of 2024 so we should be finished with credit underwriting by the end of this year. We have a $2.5 million dollar gap so we’re in need but the majority of the funding is there. We’d love the community’s support,” she said.

Women United Flagler board members Linda Sanders and Diane Wasney look over the silent auction items during the 15th Annual Power of the Purse event on April 24, 2023. Photo: Flagler News Weekly

Eighty percent of the funds raised through Women United Flagler’s projects and programs are allocated for direct support to Flagler County nonprofit agencies helping women and children. Twenty percent is slated for the United Way Community Fund. In 2021, $17,730 was distributed in grant funds to 13 programs across Flagler County.

Fundraisers include social events, Chicks with Cans food drives, and the Power of the Purse event. For more information, visit