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Hundreds of women expected to raise upwards of $100,000 to support children’s health and wellbeing.

 Women United, an affinity group of United Way for Southeastern Michigan will present its 2nd Annual Women of Influence Summit on International Women’s Day to support children’s health and wellbeingDTE Energy will serve as this year’s signature sponsor for the annual fundraiser which draws some of Southeast Michigan’s most influential women to support United Way’s early childhood development work, known as Bib to Backpack. The aim of the initiative is to help children establish a foundation for lifelong learning, and arm parents and caregivers with tools to use in their daily lives to prepare their kids for success. The 2nd Annual Women of Influence Summit will welcome nearly 300 women to the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel Detroit on Thursday, March 8, 2018 from 7 to 11 a.m. 

 Under leadership of Women United Chair and RediMinds Executive Chairwoman Beth Chappell, and event co-chairs ASG Renaissance CEO Lizabeth Ardisana; Children’s Hospital of Michigan CEO Luanne Ewald; and DTE Energy Manager of Public Affairs Dana L. Williams, the summit will offer networking opportunities and more. Guests will also get a glimpse into the lives of some of Southeast Michigan’s most accomplished women. Juliette Okotie Eboh, executive vice president for MGM Grand will serve as keynote, and a fireside chat will take place with 36th District Court Judge Roberta Archer; DTE VP, Legal and Chief Tax Officer JoAnn Chavez; along with Ewald. WDIV Anchor and Reporter Sandra Ali will serve as special guest host and emcee. All guests to receive a gift bag filled with items geared toward children under age five to gift to another parent or guardian after they leave the breakfast.

 “Few would argue that parenting is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs, and we are fortunate to have a village of powerful women committed to our work aimed at supporting families on their parenting journey,” says Tanya Heidelberg-Yopp, interim CEO for United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “Thanks to these women and DTE the organization will continue to broaden its early childhood work so that more families throughout the tri-county may benefit, and more children will be kindergarten ready.”

 Organizers of this year’s Women of Influence Summit expect to raise $100,000, an increase of $30,000 over last year. A federal grant from the Social Innovation Fund, a former program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, will match the funds raised dollar-for-dollar. The money will allow United Way to expand its Bib to Backpack initiative with new resources geared specifically toward newborns. Later this spring, new and expectant parents throughout the tri-county area will be able to get a free Baby Bundle, a diaper bag filled with infant essentials and caregiving resources, available to the community via United Way’s network of Early Learning Centers.

 “The work United Way does to educate and prepare children and young adults is a shared mission for us at DTE,” said Nancy Moody, vice president of Public Affairs at DTE Energy. “Last year, our volunteers assembled 400 literacy kits and donated nearly 600 books to support literacy and educational development for youth throughout Southeast Michigan.”

 Women United is a philanthropic group of dynamic women dedicated to promoting United Way’s early childhood work, known as Bib to Backpack. In addition to financial contributions, members contribute their time, professional expertise and talent to ensure parents and caregivers throughout Southeast Michigan have the tools they need to support the educational achievement of the children in their lives.

 Tickets for the 2nd Annual Women United Women of Influence Summit are available at $100 per ticket or $2,500 for a table sponsorship. For more information about Women United or the March 8 event, visit UnitedWaySEM.org/WomenUnited. 


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