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Doer. Trailblazer. Lemonade Maker.
Nominate Everyday Heroes for the 2017 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards
ascena Foundation to provide up to $150,000 in Grants to those Empowering Women and Children in Communities Across the Country

MAHWAH, N.J., April 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- ascena Foundation is proud to announce that the 2017 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards nomination enrollment is officially open. ascena Foundation, a charitable organization established by ascena retail group, inc., is built on making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

The Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards Program, now in its fourth year, aims to empower and provide financial support to organizations who are making a meaningful difference in the lives of women and/or children in communities across the United States, specifically in the areas of health, education, social reform and esteem.

"When we started dressbarn decades ago, our goal was to reach working women, which wasn't really being done at the time," says Roslyn S. Jaffe, co-founder of dressbarn and Director Emeritus of ascena retail group, inc. She continues, "Once the company began to grow, we recognized the importance of supporting women and children who didn't otherwise have the means themselves. Through the Awards Program, we learn about so many wonderful people who run organizations that can benefit from our grants and the exposure we provide. I look forward to our fourth year where we will once again be honored to meet and support everyday heroes."

A trailblazing female entrepreneur, Mrs. Jaffe began her career in 1962. As a working mother, she recognized the 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 it into ascena retail group, inc., a $7 billion family of brands, including Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, maurices, dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice. The Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards honor Mrs. Jaffe's entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to giving back, while also encouraging female entrepreneurs to give back to their local communities.

Mrs. Roslyn Jaffe along with her daughter, Elise Jaffe, and an esteemed selection committee with expertise in women's causes, public affairs, health and education will select the three winning organizations based on five criteria: their impact on women and/or 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. 

"As the award comes into its fourth year, it's truly amazing to look back and see how many lives have been touched," says Elise Jaffe, Senior Vice President of Real Estate for dressbarn. She continues, "We are so proud to continue to honor individuals who, like my mother, are able to make lemonade out of lemons – people who are making extraordinary efforts to change the world."

Last year's winners of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards are all exemplary organizations, each positively impacting women and/or children in low income circumstances, both in their local communities and nationwide. The 2016 winning organizations were:

  • GirlTrek ($100,000 Grand Prize Grant Recipient)
    GirlTrek, led by founders Vanessa Garrison and Morgan Dixon, is a national nonprofit that mobilizes African-American women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through the habit of daily walking.
  • The Mosaic Project ($25,000 Grant Recipient)
    The Mosaic Project, led by executive director Lara Mendel, 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.
  • 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. Keshet Dance is led by founder and artistic director Shira Greenberg.

"As an organization that helps improve the health of tens of thousands of black women and their families, this Award has helped bring critical resources and attention to GirlTrek's mission to inspire black women and girls across the country to walk every day," says co-founder Vanessa Garrison, "We are so proud to have been the 2016 Grand Prize Recipient."

A luncheon to honor the winners will take place on October 26th at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Acclaimed journalist and philanthropist, Soledad O'Brien, will emcee the event.

"This will mark my fourth year being a part of this unbelievable program," says Soledad O'Brien. "I am always amazed to learn about the wonderful causes and organizations that are further empowering and helping women and children across the country. This year is even more relevant for women everywhere and I can't wait to learn about the new nominees for 2017."

Leading up to the luncheon, ascena Foundation will host the second annual Alumni Summit that will convene all previous grant recipients, further encouraging collaborations and partnerships among philanthropic organizations.

All nominations must be submitted by May 31, 2017. Nomination forms will be available instore at most Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, maurices, dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice locations or online at www.jaffeawards.com. For additional information about the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards, please visit www.jaffeawards.com.  

PR Contacts:
Kucerak & Co.
Lauren Kucerak/Kelly Cormier
Lauren@kucerakandco.com / Kelly@kucerakandco.com
212.510.8590

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 family of brands including Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, maurices, dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice.  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 the ascena Foundation, the philanthropic organization.

About ascena Foundation

ascena Foundation, established by ascena retail group, inc., is passionate about making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. ascena Foundation supports ascena's family of purpose-driven brands that focus their charitable giving for the benefit of women and children, and the causes most important to them.

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 Premium Fashion segment (Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey), Value Fashion segment (maurices and dressbarn), Plus Fashion segment (Lane Bryant and Catherines), and for tween girls under the Kids Fashion segment (Justice).  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, maurices.com, dressbarn.com, lanebryant.com, cacique.com, Catherines.com and shopjustice.com.

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SOURCE ascena retail group, inc.