MAHWAH, N.J., Sept. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA), announces the winners of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards recognizing individuals who help empower women and children. This new annual awards program honors the lifelong contributions of Roslyn S. Jaffe, who co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962.
"Ascena's philanthropic vision is simple: empowering women and children to be their best," said David Jaffe, CEO of Ascena Retail Group, Inc. "Across our communities there are amazing stories about individuals working tirelessly toward this goal."
These 'everyday heroes' are making the world a better place for women and/or children in the areas of education, health, social reform, and self-esteem. "We specifically chose individuals whose non-profit organizations may not be well known, but have the potential for major impact with the recognition and financial support that comes with the award," said Elise Jaffe, Executive Sponsor for Ascena Cares.
$100,000 Grand Prize Recipient:
Aza Nedhari, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Mamatoto Village – Washington, D.C.
Mamatoto Village, aims to educate low-income women of color in the D.C. Metro area who, otherwise, enter motherhood blind and underprepared in order to combat the high rates of preterm birth, low-birth weight and infant mortality in this impoverished region. Their mission is two-fold, to provide complimentary and low-cost maternal health services and breastfeeding education to women and their families during pregnancy through the first year of the child's life and to facilitate the increase of qualified women of color, serving in the profession of Community Birthworkers and/or Midwives.
$25,000 Grant Recipient:
Evainna Ross, Executive Director, The Sparrow's Nest, Inc. (The Chosen 50) – Greensboro, NC
The Sparrow's Nest addresses the underserved youth in Greensboro, NC by engaging youth in leadership initiatives and developing educational, artistic and character building skills as an effort to prevent crime and drug activity and to prepare them for their transition to college or career. "The Chosen 50" mentorship program gives 50 promising youth the opportunity to work in an incentivized community of youth to tackle a new challenge and develop leadership, life and career skills each year.
$25,000 Grant Recipient:
Joy Bergfalk, Founder of Project Empower and Executive Director of Coffee Connection – Rochester, NY
The Coffee Connection / Project Empower provides comprehensive, continuous support for women on the journey to sustainable recovery from addiction through employment training, job creation and sober support in and around Rochester, NY.
$5,000 Honorable Mentions For Five Finalists:
Rebel Nell – Detroit, MIEmploys disadvantaged women in Detroit to make beautiful works of wearable art from fallen graffiti, educates them on financial management, business and life wellness and empowers them to successfully transition to an independent life.
Threads for Teens – Sonoma County, CA– aims to help young, less fortunate girls build self-esteem, confidence and give them hope through gifts of clothing, support and education.
Women's Resource Center (Women to Work Program) – Greensboro, NC – Provides pre-employment training, educational opportunities and placement case management designed to assist women in securing gainful employment.
Everybody Dance Now! – Santa Barbara, CA (local chapters nationwide) – Transforms lives of young people through dance, leadership and community involvement.
Women's Small Business Accelerator, Inc. – Columbus, OH – is dedicated to helping women business owners develop feasible concepts and launch business models that thrive and grow in order to change their financial picture and care for their families.
The Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards program was launched exclusively in Ascena brands' retail stores and on the brands' web sites in April 2014. Over 1,000 nominations were received. Final winners were chosen by an esteemed Selection Committee with expertise in women's causes, public affairs, health, and education. The committee includes: Roslyn S. Jaffe, Elise Jaffe, Joi Gordon (CEO of Dress for Success), Paula Kerger (CEO of PBS), Helen Drinan (President of Simmons College), Dr. Lisa Satlin (Professor & Chair, Pediatric Nephrology at Mount Sinai), Designer Isabel Toledo, Aleyamma Matthew (Senior Program Officer of the Ms. Foundation for Women) and Teresa Younger (CEO and President of Ms. Foundation for Women).
A luncheon honoring the winners will take place on October 23, 2014 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien will emcee the event.
For additional information about the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards please visit www.JaffeAward.com.
About Roslyn S. Jaffe
Roslyn S. Jaffe co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962; currently she is Director Emeritus for Ascena Retail Group, Inc. She is a graduate from 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, 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, like herself. Roslyn and Elliot seized the opportunity and opened a small store named dressbarn in Stamford, CT and helped grow it into the successful, nearly $5 billion, five-brand retail empire it is today (Ascena Retail Group, Inc.). A true trailblazer and entrepreneur, Ms. 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, who were also 'working moms,' Roslyn Jaffe encouraged a close-knit community where associates could rely on each other. In addition, Ms. 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 group of charitable organizations.
About Ascena Cares
Ascena is passionate about making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Ascena brands focus their charitable giving to the long-standing mission of supporting women and children empowerment issues. And, through Ascena Cares, several funds were established to provide support directly to employees, their families and their communities, including: an emergency assistance fund to help employees in challenging times; a scholarship fund to help employees' children get a higher education; and a crisis relief fund to help the surrounding communities in times of need.
About Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA) is a leading specialty retailer offering clothing, shoes, and accessories for missy and plus-size women under the Lane Bryant, Cacique, maurices, dressbarn, and Catherines brands; and for tween girls and boys, under the Justice and Brothers brands. Ascena Retail Group, Inc. operates through its subsidiaries approximately 4,000 stores throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.
For more information about Ascena Retail Group, Inc. and its brands, visit www.ascenaretail.com, www.lanebryant.com, www.maurices.com, www.dressbarn.com, www.catherines.com, www.cacique.com, www.shopjustice.com, and www.shopbrothers.com.
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SOURCE Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
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