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Nominate Everyday Heroes for the 2019 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards

ascena Foundation to provide $150,000 in grants to those making the world a better place for women and children

MAHWAH, N.J., March 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- ascena Foundation is proud to announce that the 2019 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards nomination period 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 proudly in its sixth year, aims to empower and provide financial support to the organizations of three everyday heroes who are making the world a better place for women and/or children through innovative and entrepreneurial social reform, specifically in the areas of health, education, leadership development, and self-esteem.  The Grand Prize winner organization will receive a grant of $100,000 and the two Runner-Up organizations will each receive $25,000 grants to use toward furthering their organizations' work.

"Providing fashion and inspiration for all women and girls to live confidently every day is at the heart of what we do," says Roslyn S. Jaffe, Co-Founder of dressbarn and Secretary & Director Emeritus for Life of ascena retail group, inc. "Through the [Roslyn S. Jaffe] awards, we recognize incredible women who are leading organizations that are committed to supporting women and children."

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 multibillion dollar collective of brands including Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, maurices, dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice. The Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards honor the lifelong contributions of Mrs. Jaffe and her legacy, representing her belief in the adage 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.'

Mrs. Roslyn Jaffe alongside her daughter, Elise Jaffe, and an esteemed selection committee with expertise in women's causes, public affairs, health and education will select the three winners based on five criteria: their organization's impact on low-to middle-income women and/or children in the U.S., use of innovative and entrepreneurial approach, scalability, and ability to leverage the funding and visibility of winning the Jaffe Awards to grow, as well as the ability of the winning organization to create and advocate their mission.

Winners of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards are all exemplary organizations, each positively impacting women and/or children in low- or middle-income circumstances, both in their local communities and nationwide. The 2018 grant recipients were:

  • Generation Hope - Nicole Lewis ($100,000 Grand Prize Grant Recipient)
    Generation Hope works to break cycles of teenage pregnancy, poverty, and empowering teen parents to achieve educational and financial success, and ultimate long-term independence. Founded by Nicole Lewis, a teen mother herself, the nonprofit organization provides mentoring, resources and services to help D.C. area teen parents become college graduates and help their children enter kindergarten at higher levels of school readiness.
  • Breast Treatment Task Force - Janice Zaballero and Julia Smith ($25,000 Grant Recipient)
    Breast Treatment Task Force, led by Janice Zaballero and Julia Smith, is a grassroots organization committed to providing cancer screening and diagnostic referral network for uninsured women in New York City.
  • The Summer Learning Collaborative - Catherine Lindroth ($25,000 Grant Recipient)
    The Summer Learning Collaborative, led by Catherine Lindroth and based in Delaware, works to revitalize community institutions to provide equitable, quality, summer learning experiences for low-income youth that fuels long-term student success.

"Winning the 2018 Roslyn S. Jaffe Award has been such a validation of our work with young parents and their children, ensuring that they are completing college and excelling in kindergarten," says Nicole Lewis, Founder of Generation Hope. She continues, "The recognition has inspired others to get involved, whether by donating or volunteering, and it has encouraged our Scholars and young parents across the country to pursue their education and their dreams no matter what.  We are so honored by the grand prize award and thankful to be connected to the Jaffe family, the fellow honorees, and the entire ascena community."

ascena Foundation is also pleased to announce that it has launched a strategic alliance with Ashoka—the world's largest network of social entrepreneurs—to create HERCentral to advance women's leadership, ultimately driving greater impact for social change in our communities and across the nation.   All Jaffe awardees, finalists and top applicants will have access to HERCentral, a nurturing and vibrant online community for all Changemakers to find inspiration, support, and guidance from others leading social change.  Together with Ashoka and its Ashoka Changemakers program, ascena Foundation's new HERCentral online community will provide resources, mentorship opportunities, and peer and expert support to further women and girls on their changemaking journeys.  

A luncheon to honor the winners of the 2019 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards will take place on October 24th at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. 

To begin the entry process for the 2019 Jaffe Awards, eligible participants must first be nominated (by themselves or another). All nominations must be submitted by May 15, 2019. Nomination forms will be available in-store 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.   

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About Roslyn S. Jaffe
Roslyn S. Jaffe co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962; currently she is Co-Founder, Secretary & Director Emeritus for Life 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 multibillion-dollar 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 to develop a culture of giving back.

About ascena Foundation
ascena Foundation, established by ascena retail group, inc., is a commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. ascena Foundation supports ascena's collective of purpose-driven brands that focus their charitable giving on supporting women and children, and the causes most important to them.

About Ashoka
Ashoka is building an "Everyone a Changemaker" world, a global movement in which being a changemaker—someone who sees a social problem, forms a team and launches a solution—is required to navigate this fast-moving world.  "Ashoka Changemakers"—a program within Ashoka—activates a global network of social entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, policy makers and activists to build an "Everyone a Changemaker" world.  Changemakers applies Ashoka's 40 years of experience in identifying and evaluating social innovations—plus the insights gathered from the world's largest network of leading social entrepreneurs—to frame problems and emerging innovations in a way that maximizes the systems-changing impact of each partnership, and to create networks of changemaking institutions that are part of a larger, more powerful change ecosystem.

About ascena retail group, inc.
ascena retail group, inc. (ASNA) is a leading national specialty retailer offering apparel, shoes, and accessories for women under the Premium Fashion segment (Ann TaylorLOFT, and Lou & Grey), Value Fashion segment (maurices and dressbarn), Plus Fashion segment (Lane Bryant, Catherines and Cacique), and for tween girls under the Kids Fashion segment (Justice). ascena retail group, inc. operates ecommerce websites and approximately 4,600 stores throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

For more information about ascena retail group, inc. visit:
ascenaretail.com, AnnTaylor.com, factory.anntaylor.com, LOFT.com, outlet.loft.com, louandgrey.com, maurices.com, dressbarn.com, lanebryant.com, Catherines.com and shopjustice.com.

Nicole Lewis, Founder of Generation Hope, is presented with the 2018 Roslyn S. Jaffe Award by Soledad O’Brien and Mrs. Jaffe at Cipriani in NYC. Photo credit: BFA/Angela Pham
Mrs. Jaffe speaks at the 2018 Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards. Photo credit: BFA/Angela Pham
Mrs. Jaffe with the recipients of the 2018 Roslyn S. Jaffe Award. From Left: Janice Zaballero (BTTF), Nicole Lewis (Generation Hope), Mrs. Roslyn S. Jaffe, Catherine Lindroth (SummerCollab) Photo credit: BFA/Angela Pham
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