Kate Spade New York is introducing a new Social Impact Council, which is comprised of women’s empowerment and mental health leaders from around the world such as Taraji P. Henson, Cynthia Germanotta and Jazz Thornton.
The council will work with Kate Spade New York to address stigma surrounding mental health and provide access to resources for women and girls globally. The council will partner with the brand to meet its goal of reaching 100,000 women with direct access to mental health and empowerment tools by 2025.
Kate Brosnahan Spade, the 55-year-old designer who founded the brand, died by suicide in 2018, reaffirming the importance of the brand to provide women with vital support and mental health resources. Kate Spade New York is now owned by Tapestry Inc.
“Women’s empowerment has been at the heart of our social impact efforts for our a decade, and has become a core pillar of the Kate Spade New York brand,” said Liz Fraser, chief executive officer and brand president of Kate Spade New York. “The foundational role that mental health plays in a woman’s life and in women’s empowerment has only become more clear through our social impact work. Mental health has long been undervalued, under-acknowledged and underfunded, and yet it is of more concern today than ever.”
The founding women in Kate Spade New York’s Social Impact Council will bring their expertise to the brand as it works to create positive change and encourage more conversation, education and research around the cause. The group will participate in a series of in-person and digital activations to engage the brand’s community, and beyond, throughout the year. The brand will work closely with each partner to identify opportunities to amplify the role that mental health plays in the lives of women and girls, and how Kate Spade New York can plan an even more active and impactful role to increase global access to resources.
The group will include Henson, actress and founder of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation; Germanotta, president and cofounder of Born This Way Foundation; Thornton, New Zealand-based Mental Health Advocate and cofounder of Voices of Hope; Latham Thomas, founder of Mama Glow and cofounder of Mama Glow Foundation; Elisha London, founder and CEO of Prospira Global and founder of United for Global Mental Health; Catherine Tinsley, Raffini Family Professor of Management at Georgetown University, and Norette Turimuci, executive director of Resonate.
“Women can change the course of history by standing up for what is fair and just,” Henson said. “We should be seen, heard and acknowledged as equals, in every industry. My biggest dream is to see girls and women free of shame, to openly talk about what’s hiding in the dark shadows [of their hearts and minds].”
Thornton added, “As someone who has struggled with her mental health for many years, I believe that it is so incredibly important to prioritize mental health support. Struggling with mental health issues can often leave you feeling deflated, and even worthless, so choosing to invest in not only mental health support but women’s empowerment, will change and save lives.”
Fraser said the Social Impact Council will meet formally as a collective team twice per year, and the company will be partnering with each woman individually on key activations. She noted that Kate Spade New York currently has over 25 nonprofit partners globally, including a few organizations that are led by women of this council.
Next month, Kate Spade New York will team up with Her Campus Media for “an engaging virtual event series to create a safe space for important conversations around the intersection between mental health and empowerment, and to provide a platform for Black Gen Z women, specifically to share their perspectives and stories surrounding these topics,” said Fraser.
Kate Spade has been funding women’s empowerment since 2014 through the brand’s work in Rwanda with On Purpose, a program developed with production facility Abahizi Rwanda, to empower women who create Kate Spade New York handbags. The brand has also partnered with both the Trevor Project and Crisis Text line to support young women and girls with access to crisis support.
As part of its commitment, Kate Spade New York and its foundation will donate more than $2 million annually to provide access to care and community resources to improve the mental health of women in its communities around the world. These partnerships will include organizations such as Black Girls Smile, Seleni, Girl Trek, National Council for Mental Wellbeing and the Trevor Project.
FOR MORE STORIES: