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ascena Foundation Announces Winners of the 2016 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards
Three Winners to Receive Financial Grants to Help Make a Positive Impact in Communities across the Country

MAHWAH, N.J., Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- ascena retail group, inc., through their ascena Foundation, is proud to announce the 2016 winners of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards. The Awards Program, now in its third year, aims to empower and provide financial support to everyday heroes who are making a meaningful impact in communities across the United States, specifically in the areas of health, education, social reform and esteem.

The Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards honor the lifelong contributions of Roslyn S. Jaffe, co-founder of dressbarn and Director Emeritus of ascena retail group, inc. "I'm thrilled to announce this year's Award winners and recognize these exceptional leaders who are making the world a better place for women and children," says Mrs. Jaffe. "This year, we received a record number of applications for nominations, showcasing the overwhelming number of organizations that are positively contributing to their local communities. It is truly an honor to welcome these women into the Jaffe Awards family and to support and celebrate organizations who are essential to the strength, health and betterment of our communities."

As a trailblazing entrepreneur, Mrs. Jaffe began her career in 1962. Mrs. Jaffe was a working mother who saw a need for a convenient one-stop-shop that offered value-based and fashion-forward wardrobe solutions for busy women like herself.  It was then that Mrs. Jaffe opened the first dressbarn store in Stamford, CT, eventually growing into ascena retail group, inc., a $7.4 billion family of retail brands, including Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, Lane Bryant, Cacique, maurices, dressbarn, and Catherines brands. The Jaffe Awards honors Mrs. Jaffe's entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to give back, while also encouraging social entrepreneurs to be heroes in their local communities.

The 2016 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards winners all positively impact low-income women and children, both in their local communities and nationwide. The 2016 winners include:

  • Vanessa Garrison & Morgan Dixon, founders of GirlTrek ($100,000 Grand Prize Recipient)
    GirlTrek is a national nonprofit that mobilizes African-American women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through the habit of daily walking. "As an organization that helps improve the health of tens of thousands of black women and their families, this Award will help bring critical resources and attention to GirlTrek's mission while advancing our goal to inspire 1 million black women and girls across the country to walk every day by 2018," said co-founder Vanessa Garrison.
  • Lara Mendel, executive director of The Mosaic Project ($25,000 Grant Recipient)
    The Mosaic Project aims to create a peaceful future by uniting children of diverse backgrounds, providing them with essential community-building skills, and empowering them to become peacemakers in their communities.
  • Shira Greenberg, founder and artistic director of Keshet Dance ($25,000 Grant Recipient)
    Keshet Dance's mission is to inspire and unite communities by fostering unlimited possibilities through dance, mentorship and a creative space for the arts.

An esteemed Selection Committee with expertise in women's causes, public affairs, health and education selected three Awards winners based on five criteria: Their impact on women and children in the U.S., service of lower-to-middle class beneficiaries, use of innovative approaches, scalability, and overall need and use for funding. In addition to receiving financial grants that can be used to further impact the winners' causes, these grassroots organizations will benefit from increased exposure, funding opportunities, and often the potential for expanded programming, collaborations and partnerships with other peer organizations. 

A luncheon to honor the winners will take place on October 27, 2016 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Acclaimed journalist and philanthropist, Soledad O'Brien, will emcee the event.

"I'm so honored to be a part of this fantastic initiative," says Soledad O'Brien, award-winning journalist and proud supporter of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards. "This is my third year participating in the luncheon, and every year I'm impressed to learn about the wonderful causes and organizations that are further empowering and helping women and children across the country."

Leading up to the luncheon, ascena retail group, inc. will host the inaugural Alumni Summit that will convene all previous grant recipients, further encouraging collaborations and partnerships amongst peers.

For additional information about the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards and this year's winners, please visit www.jaffeawards.com.   

About Roslyn S.Jaffe
Roslyn S. Jaffe co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962; currently she is Director Emeritus of ascena retail group, inc. She is a graduate of Simmons College, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree in management from Simmons College in 2011.

In 1962, Roslyn S. Jaffe was a working mother who, with her husband Elliott, saw a need and had a brilliant business idea - a one-stop-shop that offered the convenience of a value-based, yet fashion forward "work" wardrobe solution for busy women.. Roslyn and Elliot seized the opportunity and opened a small store named dressbarn in Stamford, CT and helped transform it into what is now ascena retail group, inc., a $7 billion plus family of brands. A true trailblazer and entrepreneur, Mrs. Jaffe credits her success to strength, determination, and a can-do attitude. But, most of all, she credits the company's success to a strong team of family, friends, and associates.

Understanding the needs of her co-workers, many of whom were also "working moms," Roslyn Jaffe encouraged a close-knit community where associates could rely on each other. In addition, Mrs. Jaffe supported like-minded organizations in the community and was an early advocate for Dress for Success®, an organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. This "take care of your own" camaraderie is what inspired the company years later to establish ascena Cares, the company's philanthropic organization.

About ascena Cares
Within ascena and its family of brands there is a rich history of giving.  This is demonstrated through ascena Cares, which embodies the extraordinary philanthropic efforts within the organization.  ascena and its brands have contributed over $100 million towards causes that benefit women and children, and the communities where they live.  Whether through collective partnerships or individual brand outreach efforts, ascena is a family of brands that respects and serves women and girls and is dedicated to making a positive impact on their lives.  And, through ascena Cares, several funds were established to provide support directly to associates, their families and their communities, including:  an emergency assistance fund to help associates in challenging times; a scholarship fund to help associates' children get a higher education; and a crisis relief fund to help associates and their surrounding communities in times of need.

About ascena retail group, inc.
ascena retail group, inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA) is a leading national specialty retailer offering apparel, shoes, and accessories for women under the Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn and Catherines brands, and for tween girls under the Justice brand.  ascena retail group, inc. operates ecommerce websites and approximately 4,900 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

For more information about ascena retail group, inc. visit:  ascenaretail.com, AnnTaylor.com, LOFT.com, louandgrey.com, lanebryant.com, cacique.com, maurices.com, dressbarn.com, Catherines.com, shopjustice.com

CONTACT:  
Diana Hitzig
MSLGROUP
(646) 500-7686
diana.hitzig@mslgroup.com

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SOURCE ascena retail group, inc.