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A couple of weeks ago Reese attended a conference in Nashville to teach teenage girls about the importance of managing their money and planning their futures. The conference was sponsored by Draper James. Read more about the event in the posts below, and see some pictures in our Gallery:

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds Conference x10

Reese Witherspoon hosts ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Funds’ event

One of Hollywood’s most powerful women joined some of Nashville’s on Tuesday night, all to mentor the city’s next generation of female business leaders.

Five hundred girls from Metro Nashville Public Schools and their women mentors and moms gathered at the Music City Center to learn the tools of financial responsibility.

Harpeth Hall graduate Reese Witherspoon, her new 12 South boutique, Draper James, and First Tennessee Bank sponsored the free conference.

“When it came up that it was the YWCA, I was so excited,” Witherspoon said. “We used to go there when I was a little girl and take Jazzercise classes with my mom, and my grandma took bridge classes there. It’s always been an incredible place of resource for women in this city.”

Pat Shea, CEO of YWCA Nashville, also addressed the group.

“If we get these young girls, and you start to think about the future you want and the kind of women you want to make to be the independent, beautiful women you want to be, I will never see you in the domestic violence shelter, and I will never see you in the adult literacy program.”

The program, called “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds,” is part of Girls, Inc., a prevention program of the YWCA.

“Any sort of investment in young women empowers all communities,” Witherspoon said.

A Lesson For Nashville Girls About Personal Finance, With The Help Of Reese Witherspoon

A program Tuesday night to teach high school girls an important life skill drew extra attention from a Hollywood star: Reese Witherspoon. She was in town for the grand opening of her new retail store location in Nashville. She presented a couple hundred girls, most of them from public schools in Nashville, with advice about being wise with money.

Ajah Faison, 14, said she already talks about finances with her parents, which is why her mom suggested this event. But the biggest draw to come to this event was the name.

“One of my inspirations is Reese Witherspoon, so I just thought it was a great opportunity to actually hear from her,” she said.

Witherspoon, who grew up in Nashville, said she wanted to be a part of the YWCA-run program — called “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds” — because saving money and planning for the future were an important topic in her home. She later realized that’s not true for every family.

“My parents never gave me the money to buy things I really wanted, because they didn’t want to rob me of that wonderful feeling that you have when you work really hard and you buy something with your own money,” Witherspoon told the audience. “Am I right, ladies?”

Afterward, Ajah said hearing the message from someone she already admired made a difference.

“I learned that I need to stop spending all my money when I first get it,” she said with a laugh.

​Why Reese Witherspoon wants Draper James to give back to Nashville

Inspired by her grandparents, Reese Witherspoon knew she wanted her lifestyle company to have a philanthropic component.

That’s why she spent her Tuesday night at Music City Center with Mayor Megan Barry, YWCA CEO Pat Shea, First Tennessee’s Middle Tennessee President Carol Yochem and group of Nashville girls looking to learn more about personal finance.

Draper James, which recently opened its first brick and mortar store in Nashville’s 12South neighborhood, partnered with the YWCA to support its Girls Inc. program, kicking off with Tuesday night’s Girls Just Wanna Have Funds conference. Answering questions before the conference, Witherspoon said she was inspired to give back to the Nashville community — her hometown — by the example of her grandparents (for whom Draper James is named).

“It was a natural fit that we would sponsor one of these programs here in Nashville, where I’m from,” Witherspoon said.

Witherspoon also took note of Nashville’s growth and, while sitting next to Mayor Megan Barry, its recent historic election.

“To see you here is such an inspiration,” she told Barry.


Hundreds of high school girls and their mentors/mothers from across Metro Nashville gathered at the Music City Center on Tuesday, Oct. 27 for the first “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds” financial literacy conference. The event kicked off the partnership between Girls Inc. at the YWCA and Reese Witherspoon’s new retail brand, Draper James.

The conference was sponsored by First Tennessee Bank and featured financial literacy lessons and interview segments with prominent Nashville women, including Witherspoon, Mayor Megan Barry, Grammy Award-winning performer CeCe Winans, and Carol Yochem, Middle Tennessee President for First Tennessee Bank. Nashville singer-songwriter Ruby Amanfu closed out the evening with a live performance for the girls and their mentors.

“As the largest provider of domestic violence services in Middle Tennessee, we know how important economic independence is to women,” said YWCA CEO Patricia Glaser Shea. “When women are able to finish their education, earn a good living and save their own money, they are far less likely to end up in a relationship or job that is unhealthy or even dangerous.”

The Oscar-winning actress, producer, and business owner has a strong connection to the YWCA, having visited the organization often as a child with her mother and grandmother. The new partnership with Girls Inc. at the YWCA was a natural fit with her new company.

“The YWCA is an incredible resource for women in this city, and that’s why I’m excited to partner with them on this financial literacy program,” said Witherspoon. “When you have confidence when you’re young, and someone gives you the right tools, you’re not going to be scared of money.”

Longtime YWCA supporter First Tennessee Bank sponsored the conference and surprised the girls who attended with a gift of a $2 bill. But there’s more. When the girls take the initiative to visit the bank, First Tennessee will add $48 for them to start their first student checking account.

“First Tennessee Bank is making an investment in each of the girls who came to the conference,” said Carol Yochem, Regional President for First Tennessee. “We are passionate about financial literacy and know how critical it is to get this information to girls when they are young.”

The Draper James partnership will also open the doors to opportunities the Girls Inc. participants might not otherwise experience, including an internship program at the Draper James retail store now open in the trendy 12th Avenue South neighborhood.

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