Delivering Good, a nonprofit that provides people impacted by poverty and tragedy with new merchandise donated by retailers and manufacturers, raised over $400,000 at its 15th annual Women of Inspiration Luncheon at the Pierre Hotel on Wednesday.
While the luncheon was the main event, Delivering Good also broke some big news of its own, with the naming of Matthew J. Fasciano as president and chief executive officer of the organization. He succeeds interim CEO Gary F. Simons, former Delivering Good board member, and before that, Lisa Gurwitch, who resigned in January after seven years to join the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee as chief advancement officer.
Fasciano’s appointment is effective July 5. For the past 15 years, Fasciano was chief operating officer at The Posse Foundation, where he provided vision, thought leadership and programmatic oversight for a national college success and youth leadership development nonprofit.
But back to the luncheon.
Some 285 people attended the event, which honored Natasha Fishman, chief communications officer and executive vice president, marketing at Authentic Brands Group; Donna Noce Colaco, executive chairwoman and chief executive officer of Matilda Jane; Jordana Guimaraes, cofounder of Fashinnovation and author of “It Can Be You,” and Jen Sidary, founder and CEO of Angelforfashion.com.
Carole Postal, president of Spotlight Licensing, who is the licensing co-chair, said it was a tough year to ask people for money, but the honorees have been terrific and very supportive. “Part of today is dedicated to Ukraine,” said Postal. She said she was so happy to be able to organize an in-person luncheon after two years of remote events. “Our goal is to raise $400,000 and I think we’re there,” said Postal. By the end of the luncheon’s fundraising, they exceeded that number.
“Today’s event helps support our daily work, connecting resources with communities in need across the country,” said Andrea Weiss, board chair of Delivering Good. “At the same time, the devastating events of the last several months compelled us to dedicate a portion of the funds raised through today’s event to our work supporting those who have fled the war in Ukraine. Delivering Good has been working to provide needed resources since shortly after the conflict broke out, and we will be there as long as we are needed.”
Together with their partners, Delivering Good has raised $341,059 toward their work supporting Ukrainian refugees. To date, they have granted $27,400 to an organization in Spain, Padre Garralda Foundation, to house Ukrainian women and children fleeing the conflict, $25,000 to World Central Kitchen to support food programs for refugees in Europe and more than $1.5 million in donated products including baby wipes, socks, underwear, sweats, blankets and diapers.
Overall, the organization delivered more than $225 million in new products last year, which represents more than 22 million units of product and has helped people in all 50 states, said Weiss.
Tijana Ibrahimovic, broadcast journalist and founder of Pop Style TV, served as the emcee. She spoke about how Delivering Good has continued their work in supporting families amid great challenges, and they’ve managed to drum up a record amount of new product donations despite logistical problems created by the pandemic. Delivering Good is currently working with 800 nonprofit partners in the U.S. Canada and Puerto Rico. She said the luncheon was dedicated to women who have made an impact in their communities and “are the kind of women who get it done.”
In accepting her award, Guimaraes tearfully thanked her husband and family and spoke about her book, “It Can Be You,” which humanizes homelessness. She noted that the book never would have happened without Maria Cuomo Cole, who partnered with her through her organization, H.E.L.P., U.S.A., which provides homes and services for families who are experiencing homelessness. Cole later told WWD she plans to do a film version of the book representing the various stories.
Sidary spoke about how she is supporting Ukrainian designers in crisis through her website, Angelforfashion.com. She said she went to the Ukraine in November 2020 after COVID-19 had broken out and she wasn’t working. “One little decision to buy a one-way ticket would change my life forever,” she said. Sidary said she fell in love with the country and began consulting with Ukrainian fashion brands. She brought four brands to New York Fashion Week last September and got orders, and this past February had six brands at NYFW, just when the war between Russia and the Ukraine broke out. “I was in the East Village with three Ukrainian women and had to tell them their capital city was being bombed,” she said. She decided at that time to build the website Angelforfashion, which represents 30 Ukrainian brands and has 800 products.
Colaco, who is CEO of Matilda Jane, a childrenswear firm, spoke about how she grew up in the industry working for self-made women who were fearless, but also rough around the edges. They showed her that anything is possible. She learned through several challenging leadership experiences the benefit of surrounding herself with a strong team. Discussing her breast cancer fundraising, she said, “Together, we achieved amazing results.” She said she realized a small group of people could save lives and “the impact far surpassed beautiful clothes.”
Fishman of ABG said she is very proud of ABG’s team of women who support each other, and she spoke about how the company is dedicated to giving back and through its Women’s Inspired Network works to build a community that fosters mentorship, trust and equity education. “You’re only as good as your team,” she said. She noted that ABG has 1,278 partners and does over $21 billion in global retail sales. She said the company’s brands engage in social and environmental activities and partnerships with the goal of bettering society and enhancing the culture.
FOR MORE STORIES: