With scores of supporters and a tender performance by Dionne Warwick, Saks Fifth Avenue celebrated its ongoing commitment to mental health and the $1.8 million raised this year alone for the cause with a party at its L’Avenue at Saks restaurant Tuesday night.
“It’s so wonderful what Saks is doing,” said the legendary Grammy winner songstress before singing three of her hits, “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” “That’s What Friends Are For” and “If I Want To.”
“There’s something that can be done about mental illness and it takes all of us to do that,” Warwick said. “All we have to do is care, truly care and always try to make people smile.”
Marc Metrick, chief executive officer of Saks, said the Saks Foundation has raised more than $7.5 million since 2017 to increase awareness about mental health in communities across the U.S., and to support education around mental health and access to care. “Certainly the last two and a half years has amplified the issue,” Metrick said, noting that there’s been some degree of “destigmatization” surrounding mental health issues. “Millions are raising their hands asking for help. But millions more still aren’t raising their hands,” Metrick said.
The Saks Foundation’s fundraising efforts have so far bolstered the work of mental health organizations touching the lives of approximately 7 million people in U.S. seeking help, including those in underserved communities and populations disproportionately affected by mental health issues.
“Five years ago, the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation embarked on a journey to make an impact on mental health, and today, we feel just as passionate about supporting this increasingly important cause,” said Metrick, who is also a member of the foundation.
“There is no doubt that the last two and a half years have challenged people around the world in unforeseen ways,” added Richard Baker, the executive chairman of Saks and president of the foundation. “The need for mental health support has never been more urgent, and we are grateful to our many partners who make our efforts possible through their generous donations.” American Express, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Capital One, Kering, Simon Property Group and Wendy & Steven Langman were cited for their contributions.
The Saks Foundation also recently launched a $250,000 fund to support grassroots, community-based mental health organizations.
Earlier this month, the group launched its first “Guided Mindfulness Journal” in honor of World Mental Health Day, which is Oct. 10. The journal is designed to provide a reflective space to kick-start one’s mindfulness journey. Through structured exercises and prompts, the journal encourages users to check in on their thoughts, feelings, habits and goals to practice self-reflection and build a positive mind-set. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sales of the journals (listed on saks.com and sold in certain Saks stores) will benefit the Saks Fifth Avenue Foundation.