Portland Thorns add Girls, Inc. to the team at Power of the Purse event

Thorns head coach Cindy Parlow Cone’s duffle bag goes for $1,700 in support of Girls Inc.

Last Friday evening, women and girls of Portland came together to celebrate National Women’s Day, and purses. Not just ordinary purses, but 13 one-of-a-kind purses designed by local celebrities, including a bag by Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone.

Aside from trendy purses, the 8th annual Power of the Purse auction event raised over $250,000 for Girls Inc. to fund after-school programming that helps empower young girls to be strong, smart and bold. The event also showcased the new partnership between Girls Inc. and the Portland Thorns FC.

“A core part of what we do at Girls Inc. is around sports programing and really teaching girls about physical activity and how to have fun, and this was a perfect tie-in,” Executive Director of Girls Inc. Elizabeth Nye said.

“We are so proud to partner with Girls Inc. because their motto - Smart, Strong, Bold - goes right in line with everything we want young girls to feel,” Parlow Cone said.  “We are just really excited to be a partner with them and look forward to doing as much as we can with them.”

At the event, Parlow Cone presented her Thorns duffle bag with Girls Inc. girl Bella, who shared that she wanted to be an actress when she grew up. The hot pink-interior bag sold for $1,700 at the auction and included 10 tickets to the Thorns home opener, a signed jersey, and a meet and greet along with an appearance by a Thorns player to the winner’s school or soccer club.

“The way Bella walked down the aisle with such confidence and composure was such a joy for me because I know how far she’s come to get to that point,” Parlow Cone said. “It felt so good to give her a hug and congratulate her on all the great stuff she’s been doing.”

Throughout the season, the Thorns and Girls Inc. will work together to empower and help young girls realize their potential.

“A huge mission of mine to help girls find their voice earlier,” Parlow Cone said. “I didn’t find my voice until I was about 24 or 25 years old. I was a very quiet, shy kid and the only place I felt comfortable was on the soccer field.”

In celebration of 27th annual National Women and Girls in Sports Day on Feb. 6, the Thorns and Girls Inc. paired up to bring awareness to the opportunities that girls have to engage in sports. Each Girls Inc. group created posters sharing the things they loved about sports and gave them to the Thorns, who picked a winner to join them at the season-opening game on April 21.

“It’s a fun way we are able to get the girls excited about sports and then to have them come see the Portland Thorns and interact with them,” Nye said. “We are looking forward to more opportunities like that.”

Together, the Thorns and Girls Inc. hope to make a positive difference in the lives of young girls.

“I’m very jealous of these young girls to get this message early in life, because I didn’t get it until later,” Parlow Cone said. “If I can just help a few girls find their voice a little earlier and help them find that confidence earlier in their life, then it will be a job well done.”