Auburn alumna and co-founder of Atlanta’s Orange Duffel Bag Initiative to give keynote at Women’s Philanthropy Board event

Echo GarrettAUBURN UNIVERSITY – Echo Garrett, a 1982 Auburn University alumna, award-winning author and co-founder of the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, will provide the keynote address for the Women’s Philanthropy Board 2014 Winter Workshop, Expo and Luncheon on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

Garrett’s presentation, “Why It’s Not Too Late for Our Nation’s Most Vulnerable Teens,” will cap off the day’s events which include a morning leadership, mentoring and career panel session with three fellow Auburn alumni: Beverly Farrington, ’77, founder and principal designer, Accents of the South Inc.; Vickie Orr Wiley, ’93, Auburn basketball legend, Olympian and current administrator at the Harris Early Learning Center in Birmingham; and retired Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, ’74, Auburn’s senior counsel for national security programs, cyber programs and military affairs. Each panelist will provide insight into their occupations and organizations and serve as mentors for students and other attendees.

Garrett and Sam Bracken started the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, an Atlanta-based nonprofit, in 2010 to provide certified life plan coaching to at-risk youth ages 12-24. The coaching is based on the principles of the book, “My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change,” written by Garrett and Bracken. The award-winning story chronicles Bracken’s life as a homeless teen who carried all his possessions in an orange duffel bag and overcame adversity to attend and graduate with honors from Georgia Institute of Technology.

A journalist for 30 years and former contributor to publications such as Money and Business Week, Garrett has been published in more than 75 national magazines, newspapers and websites including Parade, Delta Sky, Atlanta Journal Constitution, New York Times and She’s also contributed to or authored a dozen books.

“Echo, through her work with the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, is providing hope to youth at a time in their lives when many feel hopeless,” said Sidney James Nahkjavan, Drummond Thorne Stukes Executive Director for the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies and Women’s Philanthropy Board. “She is the perfect example of an individual who saw a societal need and set out to make a difference through a nonprofit leadership role.”

Special guest Auburn women’s basketball coach Terri Williams-Flournoy will be available to speak with attendees before the luncheon.

In honor of Wiley’s participation this year, the Women’s Philanthropy Board and the Auburn Athletic Department will provide two free tickets to the women’s basketball game versus Mississippi State on Sunday, Feb. 9, to everyone who purchases a ticket to the WPB Workshop, Expo and Luncheon.

Tickets are required and can be purchased by calling the WPB office at (334) 844-9156 or by visiting Individual tickets are $50 and reserved tables of 10 are available in the following price structure: Gold Table, $600; Platinum Table, $800; and Diamond Table, $1,000.

The Women’s Philanthropy Board, the flagship division of the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, was established in 2002. The organization has been the inspiration for the development of a minor in philanthropy and nonprofit studies in the College of Human Sciences; Camp iCare, a summer camp for kids ages 6-12; and REAL Cents REAL Change, a learning series and summer residential camp for teens ages 13-18.

Women’s Philanthropy Board Corporate partners and grantors provide funds to assist in underwriting WPB’s educational events. These partners include Alabama Power, Auburn University Outreach, BB&T, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Charlotte Gaston Interiors, Dubberly, Dean & Associates – UBS, The Flower Store, The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, Kiplinger, Mary Wynne Estes – Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Verizon and Warren Averett Wilson Price LLC.

For more information about the initiative, visit or

(Written by Amy Weaver)

Contact: Kim Walker, Women’s Philanthropy Board, (334) 844-9156 (,
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (