Since 1994, the Women’s Power Breakfast has raised millions of dollars to fight hunger in southeastern Michigan, with a focus on feeding kids the past five years. Marking its 25th anniversary this year, Gleaners’ annual signature event has brought together hundreds of Metro Detroit’s most powerful women from corporate, civic, community, and nonprofit sectors to raise one million meals every spring. It all started as the brainchild of Dulcie Rosenfeld.
Shortly after Dulcie Rosenfeld joined the board of Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, she was tasked with raising a lot of money, prompting her to create the Women’s Power Breakfast. This year, the Women’s Power Breakfast celebrates its 25th anniversary of bringing together the community’s most powerful leaders from corporate, civic, community, and nonprofit sectors to fight hunger.
The idea came from a story in The New York Times about a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels. The premise was simple: Socialites and businesswomen would pay $100 a ticket for a basic breakfast of oatmeal or dry cereal. Men could come, but they had to pay $1,000. Instead of assigned seating, guests picked a table number out of a silver bowl, sat down, and mingled – all by 9 a.m.
The first ladies of Michigan and Detroit, Michelle Engler and Trudy Archer, were on board as honorary chair and event chair, respectively. There were no invitations either, just handwritten notes. The guest list was based on Rosenfeld’s and Gleaners capital campaign manager Peg Tallet’s. Tickets started at $75.
At the event, 120 of Detroit’s top female corporate leaders and community volunteers came together at the Detroit Club. Since then, over 9,000 attendees have supported Gleaners’ Women Power event (the Breakfast and Happy Hour, now in its fifth year). The Women’s Power Breakfast kicks off Gleaners’ Million Meal Match, a monthlong campaign to raise one million meals.