Supporter Stories

Michael Purser


“On their way to visit an ailing relative, we lost my mother, Vera, and sister, Anne. A careless driver caused a senseless car accident, killing them both. Mom was 83. Anne was just 52.

Among our family and friends, the grief was profound, and the loss was too harsh to accept. Mom and Anne’s example of love gave us an option that provided solace amidst our grief. Their compassion and service to others was a legacy to preserve. We realized that education had been a silent partner in their lives. Mom used it to realize a childhood dream to become a nurse. Anne used it to reinvent herself as a teacher, and to reaffirm her dedication to her family and community. We decided to give that silent, empowering partner a voice, a presence and a mission.

As it heads into its fourth decade, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation has helped hundreds of women with the same level of desire and determination displayed by Mom and Anne. No other organization speaks the language as clearly and eloquently for a group looking for assistance and affirmation. This is why the Jeannette Rankin Foundation now has a scholarship named the Vera & Anne Purser Award. It is a scholarship that will be given every year in perpetuity. Anne’s son Caleb and I donated to the foundation so that other women who need financial assistance will be able to go to college. For generations to come, women in need will benefit from the generosity of the Jeannette Rankin Foundation while being inspired by the legacy of Mom and Anne. The gift education brings to these hard-working women will allow them to square their shoulders to each day, carry themselves with confidence and share their stories of success with others.”