In tribute to the recent death of Kate Spade, the cofounder and namesake of Kate Spade New York, the company disclosed plans today to provide a charitable donation to support suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Spade, who cofounded the company in 1993, died in her apartment of suicide on June 5. She was 55.
The Kate Spade New York Foundation will donate $1 million to suicide prevention and mental health awareness causes, beginning with $250,000 to the Crisis Text Line. Additionally, the brand will match public donations made to the Crisis Text line starting June 20 through June 29, up to the amount of $100,000. Donations during this time can be made through crisistextline.org/katespadeny.
Known for her utilitarian shapes and colorful palettes, Spade was instrumental in sparking the designer handbag craze in the Nineties in the U.S. She and her husband, Andy, along with their partners, walked away from the company entirely in 2007, a year after it was acquired for $125 million by Liz Claiborne Inc., which subsequently sold off all its other operations to transform itself into Kate Spade & Co., and then was sold to what is now Tapestry, Inc. Kate Spade and her partners launched Frances Valentine, a footwear and handbag brand, in 2015.
“Kate Spade was a true fashion icon who brought joy to the lives of women around the world, and inspired women to live life to the fullest. We are dedicated to carrying on her legacy,” said Anna Bakst, brand president and chief executive officer of Kate Spade New York. “The outpouring of love on social media and in our shops from customers of all ages has been overwhelming and moving, It is such a beautiful reflection of how much Kate was loved.”
Baskt added, “Mental health does not discriminate; it is complicated and difficult to diagnose and can often be life-threatening. We hope that our support will shed even more light on the disease and encourage those who suffer from mental health issues to seek help. Collectively, we must all do more.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in the U.S., one in five adults experiences a mental illness, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country. Nearly 60 percent of adults with a mental health illness did not receive metal health services in the previous year.
Kate Spade New York will host a Global Mental Health Awareness Day for employees in corporate and regional offices, as the first installment of a Wellness Program that the company is introducing in the coming months. The brand’s objective is to generate greater awareness of mental health, call attention to the common risks and warning signs, and encourage effective interventions and treatments for those in need.
The Crisis Text line provides free, 24/7 support for people in crisis via text. They can text 741741 to be connected to a trained crisis counselor.
Spade’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church in Kansas City, Mo., where Spade was born, according to a spokesman at the Katy McGilley State Line Chapel.