By  on March 8, 2007

NEW YORK — Entering its fourth year, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is close to reaching its $5 million endowment goal.

Gap joins as the fund's first-ever partner, having made a $1 million contribution. Lord & Taylor and Liz Claiborne Inc. have become underwriters, with donations of $500,000 each. Diane von Furstenberg and Tommy Hilfiger were named donors, having given $100,000 and $50,000 to the fund, respectively.

The new contributors join existing underwriters Vogue, Barneys New York, Nordstrom, Kellwood Co., Juicy Couture, Coach and Theory. The fund was founded by Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2003.

"I am pleased that the Fashion Fund is attracting such an interesting group of underwriters," said Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour.

The Fund awards three monetary prizes as well as one-on-one mentorship programs to emerging designers. Past winners of the top award are Proenza Schouler, Trovata and Doo-Ri. They each received $200,000, while the runners-up got $50,000 each.

"We have worked hard to attract companies that share the vision on which the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was founded," said Steven Kolb, CFDA's executive director. "We have now established this endowment. We have the money raised so that, in future years, the interest will pay for the cash prizes and will enable us to continue this program."

He added that, in the newly created role of partner, Gap will be bringing to the table "some ideas on how to connect with the program more actively and we will announce these very soon." The application process for this year's fund will kick off next month. The 10 finalists will be announced in July, and the winners, in mid-November.

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